2023 Dodge HornetStellantis
Can Dodge’s New Crossover Sting the Competition?
Dodge, recently much more famous for its obnoxious Hellcat engines, is looking toward a future without fossil fuels. The automaker plans to announce an electric muscle car in the coming months, and has stated a goal of incorporating electrified models into its catalog.
The company’s lineup has dwindled in recent years, to the point that there are now only three models that wear the Dodge name. The Durango SUV is its only utility vehicle at the moment, but that will change later this year with the unveiling of the Dodge Hornet. The compact SUV will share much of its underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, and will slot into the Dodge lineup beneath the long-running Durango.
What Is the Dodge Hornet?
Dodge Hornet Badge on displayStellantis
The Dodge Hornet is a new small crossover that may come with an available plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s based on the new Alfa Romeo Tonale, which will be released soon. Depending on how much Alfa Dodge injects, the Hornet could get the Italian SUV’s powertrains, including a turbocharged four-cylinder, a PHEV and more.
The Hornet will slot into the Dodge lineup beneath the Durango, and will fill the void the automaker currently has on the smaller side of its lineup.
The Hornet name originated on a Hudson model decades ago, which was handed off to Chrysler after the AMC acquisition in the late 1980s. Dodge released a unique but ultimately doomed concept vehicle in 2006, which featured the company’s signature “crosshairs” grille from the period and funky shapes throughout, but that vehicle is worlds away from the SUV we’re expecting to see very soon.
Dodge Hornet Release Date
Dodge hasn’t given any detail on the Hornet, though the SUV is widely expected to debut in late summer. Early spy photos show an SUV with strikingly similar styling to the Alfa Romeo Tonale, so it’s not like Dodge is starting with a clean sheet design.
As for its actual on-sale date and official release in the United States, we’re most likely looking at a date sometime late in 2022 or early 2023. The Hornet and related Alfa Romeo compete in different parts of the market, so it’s conceivable that Dodge doesn’t wait for long after the Tonale hits the market.
The Hornet will share its engine and hybrid system with the Tonale. That means a turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with a 90 kW electric motor. Combined output lands at 272 horsepower for the Tonale, so it’s likely that we’ll see a similar setup in the Dodge.
The Hornet may also get the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offered in the Tonale. It makes 256 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and sends it to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Finally, since we’re talking about a Dodge and not an Alfa Romeo, there’s a solid chance that the automaker takes a more budget approach and offers a smaller, less powerful three- or four-cylinder engine without hybrid or turbo power.
At this point, we’ve only seen glimpses of alleged pre-production Hornets in testing. Images shared to Twitter early in 2022 show an exterior shape that is very similar to the smooth, sweeping lines of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. A notable difference is the Hornet’s grille, where it gets a traditional Dodge look and less exotic aerodynamics.
The SUV’s interior also follows closely in the Alfa’s footsteps. There’s a digital gauge cluster and large infotainment touchscreen. We’ll likely see entry-level models with cloth upholstery and fewer tech gadgets and at least a couple top-tier trims with all of the goodies. The Hornet will be able to seat five people, though its overall size means the back seat will likely be cramped for adults.
2023 Dodge Hornet interior dashboard viewStellantis
As a Stellantis brand, Dodge has the advantage of Uconnect 5, one of the best and easiest to use infotainment interfaces on the market today. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, over-the-air updates, Bluetooth and many other features come standard with the system. Dodge will likely offer two screen sizes, with a smaller screen for lower trims and a larger unit for more exclusive variants. We may see a curved display or a panoramic display that combines the gauge cluster and infotainment screens, but that’s less likely than a traditional display in a vehicle at the Hornet’s expected price point.
Alfa Romeo includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and more as standard kit in the Tonale. The Dodge is less expensive than the Alfa, so it’s more than likely that some features will be held back for options packages and higher trims.
Dodge and other Stellantis brands frequently offer a baseline of safety equipment, such as forward collision warnings and automatic emergency braking to bolster safety scores in vehicles. At the same time, most models in the automaker’s catalog require an added-cost upgrade to get the most desirable features.
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