Dodge’s first plug-in hybrid SUV has big tire marks to fill. We put it to the test on a winding road in Asheville, North Carolina. Dodge is betting that the Hornet can slake the thirst of members of the Brotherhood of Muscle who want to keep in touch with their inner performance car enthusiast. But can it do it all?
2023 Dodge Hornet RT Review
Dodge’s first SUV since the woeful Caliber is a bit of a departure from the brand’s musclebound past, but it’s still a fun drive. We threw it around some outrageously curvy roads in Asheville, North Carolina during the Hornet’s launch event and found that its all-wheel drive system and 268-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine provide plenty of muscle. The optional Track Pack unlocks some extra performance features that add even more ferocity to the already fast little thing.
The Hornet is expected to be a very popular choice for commuters who want to combine the utility of an SUV with its edgy driving experience. That’s especially true because its Lilliputian footprint keeps its total cargo capacity well below most compact SUVs (1,550L) and subcompact vehicles (like the Toyota Corolla Cross or Volkswagen Taos). Stellantis says it designed the Hornet to disrupt the status quo of the mainstream crossover segment with swarm of class-exclusive and best-in-class performance features that optimize suspension, braking, steering and handling. We hope so especially considering that the plug-in hybrid model is set to be priced at an unaffordable $53,000 when it goes on sale in the spring of 2023. If that sounds like a lot for a small Italian-built SUV, we can’t say we blame you.
2023 Dodge Hornet RT Launch Date
After a long absence from the US market, Dodge has returned to the compact SUV segment with its new 2023 Hornet. The new vehicle takes inspiration from the Alfa Romeo Ton ale but brings a bit of Dodge muscle with it to reimagine what a compact utility vehicle can be. The new model starts at an estimated $31,590 and can be equipped with a number of class-leading standard performance features to help it stand apart from the pack. These include intelligent adaptive cruise control that can maintain a preset distance to the vehicle in front of you and automatically adjusts in stop-and-go traffic. There’s also a lane support system that keeps the vehicle centered in its lane and prevents it from veering into the traffic around you.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet will be available with a choice of two powertrains. The GT trims utilize a 2.0-liter turbocharged Hurricane I4 engine that produces 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The top-of-the-line RT trims use a 1.3-liter turbocharged I4 that works seamlessly with a 90kW electric motor to deliver a total of 288 horsepower. Both models will be built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples, Italy. The GT ICE model will be available in late 2022, and the R/T PHEV will follow in spring 2023.
2023 Dodge Hornet RT Price
The 2023 Dodge Hornet is a performance-oriented small SUV that shares mechanical pedigree with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. It’s designed to appeal to the brotherhood of muscle and boasts a suite of class-exclusive features that Dodge says optimize suspension, braking, handling and steering. Buyers can choose from a GT with a 268-hp turbocharged Hurricane I4 or the more powerful R/T PHEV that churns out a combined 285 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both versions feature a nine-speed automatic transmission and send power to all four wheels. A 14-speaker, 465-watt premium audio system from Harman Kardon rounds out the standard equipment. Those seeking extra efficiency will be pleased to know that the Hornet can travel more than 30 miles on electricity alone.
Pricing starts at $31,590 for the GT and reaches $46,590 for the range-topping R/T Plus. Both trim levels are available with optional packages such as the GT Blacktop Package ($1,995), Technology Pack without Parallel & Perpendicular Park Assist ($2,245) and the Track Pack ($2,995). The Hornet is built in Italy, which explains its relatively high price tag. It also trails behind competitors such as the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-30 and Volkswagen Tiguan in terms of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded. But, Dodge claims it will offer a number of clever features to make up for that shortcoming.