2023 Dodge Hornet GT: A Compact Crossover Done Dodge's Way
Dodge doesn’t do anything quietly. In terms of their Hellcat-powered muscle cars, I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. In terms of building a brand, I mean that more figuratively. When it came time for the brand to do what reluctant automakers from Alfa Romeo to Aston Martin have done: build an affordable and efficient compact crossover. (Does anyone remember the Aston Martin Cignet?)
The way in which Dodge intends to make noise in this new segment for the brand is by making the fastest and most powerful vehicle in the class while pricing it at around $30,000. (Granted, that is a relatively low bar when you consider the competition being the likes of Honda CR-V and Chevy Equinox, but hey you do you, Dodge.)
To make those claims a reality, the Hornet is offered in two main trims: GT and R/T. The GT model serves as the base model and is powered by the Hurricane4 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder Turbo engine mated to a 9-speed automatic routing power to all four wheels. That turbo 4 is good for 268 ponies and 295 lb-ft of twist. (What happened to the days of rounding to a 0 or a 5? Just wait, it’s going to get worse.) Acceleration from a stop to 60 mph is achieved in a Dodge-claimed 6.5 seconds.
The performance variant of the lineup is the R/T, which is a plug-in hybrid model. Powered by a 1.3 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and electric drive motor that are good for a combined power number of 288 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. If you’re curious, 199 horsepower is supplied by internal combustion while 195 ponies are supplied by the electric motor. Power is routed to all four wheels through a 6-speed automatic in this version, but Dodge adds paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel. Those paddles come into play if you want to experience the 6.1 second 0-60 times claimed by Dodge as you will need to pull both simultaneously to engage a 25-horsepower “power shot” for quicker and repeated acceleration runs. As it is a plug-in hybrid from the same family of brands that makes the best-selling PHEV in the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Dodge claims up to 30 miles of all-electric range in the R/T.
Exterior styling borrows heavily from the Alfa Romeo Tonale which is made on the same platform. (We saw that model last year and thought it looked gorgeous. I mean, it’s an Alfa) The profile is lifted straight from the stylish Italian, while the front is a modern iteration of the current Charger scaled down to the compact crossover segment. This is also the first time we have seen the new Dodge logo in the center of the grille on a vehicle without “Dodge” spelled out next to it. It has been since 2010 when Ram Trucks became its own brand and took the ram’s head logo with it that we have seen a Dodge vehicle with a wordless logo, that’s playing the long game in marketing folks.
I don’t know that they are really needed with displacement not besting a large bottle of Dr. Pepper, but Dodge has put functional heat extractors on the hood. Kudos Dodge for not just putting fake plastic vents on the hood for visual interest (looking at you Toyota Supra!)
When it comes to color, Dodge’s marketing folks have come up with many fun color names including 8 Ball, Q Ball, Hot Tamale, Acapulco Gold, Zoolander’s Favorite Blue Steel, Gray Cray, and our model’s Blu Bayou (appropriate as we are in Bayou City).
Inside is more of what we loved about the Tonale. Leather seats that can be heated and ventilated, a 12.3-inch digital cockpit, 10.25-inch Uconnect5 infotainment, and plenty of ISB-C ports to charge our modern devices.
See, Dodge makes this entry into the small crossover segment uniquely Dodge in their approach. They even take it a step further with their robust Direct Connect dealer option customization. These factory-warranty-covered parts vary from lowered suspension to wheels. We will have to wait and see just how extensive the selection gets for this crossover, but we applaud the effort.
The Dodge Hornet should be hitting dealer lots as you read this and we are already looking forward to our first opportunity to get behind the wheel of one. No, it’s not a banshee-wailing supercharged V8, but it is a uniquely Dodge entry into what should be a very profitable segment for the brand allowing them to explore other avenues of performance. With this being the first electrified Dodge model, it has us wondering what the next one will be since we have already seen (and heard) the all-electric Charger Daytona SRT Concept.
2023 Dodge Hornet GT Specs:
Hurricane4 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Turbo Engine
295 lb.-ft. of Torque
9-speed Automatic Transmission
Activate Sport Mode
0-60 mph in 6.5 Seconds
Premium Unleaded Fuel Recommended
18-inch Abyss Finished Wheels
225/55 R18 Goodyear Eagle Sport Tires
GT Blacktop Package
Power Adjustable Driver's Seat with 3-person Memory Function
Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
Leather Seating Surfaces
Dual-zone Climate Control
12.3-inch Driver Information Digital Cluster Display
10.25-inch Uconnect5 Touchscreen Infotainment
Proximity Key with Push Button Start
EPA Fuel Economy 23/31/26 (city/hwy/cmb)
Starting Price: $30,590
Price as tested: $41,325 (set)
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