A New Type of Muscle? The 2023 Dodge Hornet is the Latest Performance CUV
With the auto industry undergoing a massive transition away from internal combustion engines and toward electrification, the fate of the Dodge brand has been surrounded with uncertainty.
The End of the V8
Over the last the decade, Dodge has firmly established itself as the muscle car brand, embracing massive V8 engines when many other automakers have pivoted toward smaller turbocharged engines and more recently toward hybrids and EVs.
But sadly the era of the Dodge V8 is coming to an end. And the company hasn’t been secretive about the the upcoming end of vehicles like the Challenger, Charger and Durango and the the transition toward electrics.
But before they go full on into the world of “electric muscle cars” Dodge will be adding a brand new turbocharged, hybridized CUV to its lineup. Meet the 2023 Dodge Hornet.
Although an entirely new model and nameplate for Dodge, the Hornet is actually based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale crossover, though it gets unique front and rear fascias that bring to mind the Charger and Durango.
And in keeping with the spirit of the brand, Dodge is positioning the Hornet as a more exciting form of CUV, with standard turbocharged power and AWD on all models.
The base trim is the GT, and its powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 265 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Then there's the R/T, a plug-in hybrid that mates a 1.3 liter turbo-four with electric motors for a total of 285 horsepower and 383 pound feet of torque. Dodge says it will do 0-60 in 6.1 seconds.
Even better, when fully charged, the Hornet R/T will be capable of driving over 30 miles on electric power alone before needing to fire up its gasoline engine.
CUV or Hot Hatch?
The Hornet also gets other features like four-piston Brembo brakes (standard on R/T, optional on GT), Koni shocks and an electronic limited slip differential. In other words, the Hornet might actually be closer to a hot hatch than your typical CUV.
Dodge is also trying to keep its enthusiast spirit alive with line of factory Direct Connection upgrade parts for the Hornet, including suspension, exhaust, wheels and more.
The show the potential of these warranty-friendly upgrades, Dodge showed off a Hornet GT-based GLH Concept that borrows its name from the legendary turbocharged Dodge Omni of the 1980s.
As for pricing, Dodge says the GT model will have a starting price below $30,000, which is impressive given the amount of power it has. The plug-in R/T model will start just under $40,000, though that number could potentially be lower after federal tax credits.
The Hornet GT will arrive first, with deliveries beginning at the end of this year. The R/T will follow in the spring of 2023.
Will the Hornet win over those old 392 and Hellcat buyers? Probably not. But when it comes to showing a new path for the Dodge brand it certainly looks like an intriguing option.
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- In the meantime, we are still waiting to see the new Dodge "EV Muscle Car", which should be here before we know it.