Car News

2023 Dodge Hornet Ready to Sting with Turbo, PHEV Power

Dodge has just launched the Hornet compact crossover, which is the brand's first new model in years, and the first plug-in hybrid to wear the Dodge badge. But if you think that the company is planning to abandon the braggadocio that accompanied models like the Challenger and Durango SRT Hellcat, you've got another thing coming.

Dodge introduces the 2023 Hornet GT as the quickest, fastest, most powerful compact utility vehicle under $40,000.

That GT trim Hornet, the base model, has a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine called Hurricane. It makes 268 hp on premium fuel along with 295 lb-ft of torque. This model gets a nine-speed automatic transmission and has an all-wheel drive system that includes a limited-slip differential and standard torque vectoring to improve agility and traction. It'll hit 100 km/h in about 6.5 seconds in Sport mode.

The R/T is the PHEV model, which uses a 1.3L four-cylinder turbo engine and an electric motor on the rear axle. Combined, it makes 288 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, making it an absolute torque monster in this class. Pull both steering wheel paddles and floor the accelerator and you engage what Dodge calls PowerShot. The special mode adds 25 hp and enough torque to cut a full second from the zero-to-100-km/h time. The boost lasts for 15 seconds and can be activated again after a 15-second cool-down.

With a 15.5-kWh battery pack, Dodge expects more than 50 km of EV driving range. The Hornet will have battery-saving, hybrid, and EV modes, for when you're not busy launching it.

The Hornet is about more than horsepower and Dodge seems serious about driving dynamics. It's an unusual move in this segment but it certainly has our attention. Parts like Koni FSD performance shocks are standard, with a stiffer feel in corners and softer on bumps. Dynamic torque vectoring, as we've mentioned, is standard in both. Dodge also boasts a 52/48 weight distribution.

Four-piston Brembo fixed brake callipers are standard on the R/T and offered in red on the Hornet GT with the track package. That package includes adaptive damping and 20-inch wheels. Dodge even showed off a GLH concept, a nod to the 1980s, that added power and performance through the Dodge Direct Connection accessory catalogue.

The styling isn't quite as adept at giving off that Dodge aggression we're used to. It's a good-looking crossover (no surprise since it shares much of its design with the Alfa Romeo Tonale) but the mail slot grille doesn't work quite as well here as it does on the Charger. What does work are the hood extractor vents and the full-width tail light.

The Hornet's cabin is meant to look upscale for the segment, with leatherette standard and Alcantara performance seats optional. The crossover has a 12.3-inch digital dash with a configurable display standard, while infotainment uses a 10.25-inch screen angled toward the driver.

The screen runs Uconnect 5, Dodge's latest, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as Amazon Alexa and support for two phones at once. 15w wireless charging is also offered, on the Plus trim of both models.

Driver assists include automatic emergency braking, lane guidance, and blind spot detection, and parking sensors at the rear are also standard. Dodge will offer surround-view cameras and parking assistance. Advanced driver assistance options include intelligent speed assist that notifies you of limit changes, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise, and lane centring.

Built in Naples, Italy, the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT will start production later this year and hit dealers before the end of the year. Orders are open now. The R/T model will follow in the spring.