That Stings: 2023 Dodge Hornet


August 17th, 2022 2:58 PM

The self-proclaimed muscle car brand is finally dipping a toe into the ultra-hot (and ultra-competitive) compact crossover market. It will launch as a 2023 model – the first new Dodge in recent memory, it should be noted – with the choice of a gasoline powerplant or a plug-in hybrid. 

And as part of the festivities, Dodge is bringing back a trio of consonants from their history books: GLH.

This new Hornet range starts with the GT, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four from the Hurricane family of engines. It’s good for 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque when fed premium fuel. All-wheel drive is standard and a nine-speed automatic makes for this engine’s dance partner. 

Further up the food chain is an R/T trim, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with 288 net combined horsepower and 383 lb.-ft of “total installed” torque. That notation is both curious and worth mentioning, since electric motors and internal combustion engines don’t necessarily make peak power at the same time. For what it’s worth, the 1.3L ICE makes 199 lb-ft and the rear axle e-Motor produces 184 lb-ft of twist. This does indeed add up to 383, but whether the totality of that sum is available at once remains to be seen. 

Dodge says this combo offers more than 30 miles of all-electric range via a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. A six-speed auto handles shifting duties. Like the GT, the R/T is all-wheel drive. A party trick on the PHEV is a so-called PowerShot feature in which the battery unleashes 25 extra horsepower for 15 seconds at the push of a button. There are various and sundry drive modes in the PHEV for saving battery juice, likely developed from lessons learned in the Grand Cherokee 4xe which has similar functions.

But what about the GLH? Crafted from a few pages in the Direct Connection catalog, it provides a look at one potential performance path created with DC parts. This particular effort, shown in the hero shot atop this post, has a suspension lowering kit, a so-called ‘stage kit’ which gives unspecified performance upgrades to the GT powertrain, unique exhaust, and a smattering of visual addenda. It’s likely that Dodge is testing the waters with this “concept” GLH to gauge reaction before committing to production.

Inside, a standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen houses Uconnect 5 software with features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Alexa integration. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster looks snazzy, and a 14-speaker Harman-Kardon sound system is on the options sheet. Alcantara seating is available, along with a flat-bottomed steering wheel plus a scatter of red trim. In short, it meshes with its Dodge brothers pretty well.

And, for those in the B&B yelling at their computer screen, this car is absolutely based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Top brass insists the Hornet’s doors are the only body pieces shared with the Italian, pointing to the Hornet’s muscular front end and trademark lighting signatures as proof it earned a spot in Dodge’s aggro lineup of vehicles. The model-specific Hornet badge certainly fits that theme.

Prices start at an agreeable $29,995 for the GT and $39,995 for the R/T plus destination fees. Order books open for GT models today with deliveries starting in December, while the R/T is expected to hit dealer lots next Spring.

[Image: Dodge]

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