Dodge dealers are getting ready to welcome a new vehicle to their showrooms. Coming this spring, the 2023 Hornet marks the brand’s first entry into the subcompact SUV space.
The Hornet is another name from Dodge’s past. The moniker traces its roots back to a full-size car produced by the long-defunct Hudson brand from 1951-1957. The first-generation (1951-1954) Hornet gained prominence with the general public as a character voiced by the late Paul Newman in the Disney-Pixar movie Cars.
In 2006, Dodge resurrected the Hornet name for the first time with a concept car that was to be sold exclusively in Europe. It was slightly larger than a Mini Cooper of the same year and its profile was reminiscent of the Kia Soul, which would debut two years later.
The 2023 iteration will share much of its engineering with the 2024 Tonale from Stellantis’ upscale Alfa Romeo brand. It will also be one of the most powerful vehicles in its class. The entry-level GT grade features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It teams with a 9-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. The only other subcompact SUV that comes close to this level of power is the Hyundai Kona N, which has a starting price more than $5,000 higher than the Hornet.
Arriving as a 2024 model is the Hornet R/T, which uses the drivetrain as the Tonale. A 1.3-liter four-cylinder gas engine pairs with an electric motor to produce a net total of 288 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. As with the GT, AWD is standard, but the R/T will get its power to the pavement via a 6-speed automatic transmission. This model will include a feature Dodge calls “PowerShot,” which provides a temporary boost of 30 additional horsepower, which the company claims will produce a 0-60-mph acceleration time of just 5.6 seconds.
Other performance-related goodies for the Hornet include shock absorbers and brakes from Koni and Brembo, respectively; dynamic torque vectoring; and specific tweaks to the suspension and steering systems.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, along with a 10.25-inch infotainment system powered by Stellantis’ Uconnect 5 suite. An available Harmon Kardon audio system provides 465 watts of output through 14 speakers and a subwoofer.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT starts at $29,995. The uplevel GT Plus, which includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, sunroof, and embedded navigation system, will set you back $35,490. The manufacturer destination fee is $1,595. These models are slated to arrive at dealers in the coming weeks. Pricing for the 2024 R/T will be revealed closer to its early summer 2023 on-sale date.
Although Dodge is very late to the subcompact SUV party, the Hornet looks like it will make a pretty grand entrance. That much standard power plus the promise of a well-tuned driving experience makes us very eager to spend time behind the wheel. The only real disappointment, at least right now, is the rather anonymous styling. We wish designers would have modeled the production vehicle after the 2006 concept, which would have given buyers a fresh alternative to the likes of the Kia Soul.
2024 Dodge Hornet Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)