Dodge's first plug-in hybrid will focus on one thing - fun.
Dodge is desperately in need of new vehicles. The current three-model lineup consisting of the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Durango is not sustainable. Not long ago, Dodge confirmed an all-electric muscle car is due in 2024 but there'll be another new model debut prior to that. And no, it won't be a muscle car but rather a slick and sporty SUV called the Hornet.
According to Mopar Insiders, the Dodge Hornet (the 2006 concept is pictured below) will debut for the 2023 model year as the distant corporate cousin of the also upcoming (and recently delayed) Alfa Romeo Tonale. A slide from a recent presentation given by Stellantis CEO Carlo Tavares shows Dodge will launch an unnamed PHEV sometime in 2022. In March 2020, then-FCA filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the Hornet nameplate.
Put that all together - plus another recent rumor - and it's quite clear what Dodge has planned. Aside from very different styling inside and out, the SUVs will pack separate powertrains. The Hornet is expected to be powered by the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque that's already found in other Stellantis group models, like the Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid.
The Tonale is expected to have a 1.5-liter inline-four with mild-hybrid tech. It's possible that the engine could be offered in the Hornet alongside the 2.0 though this remains uncertain.
What is for sure is the Hornet having an optional all-wheel drive system. In case you're wondering, Dodge does consider the Hornet to be the Journey's replacement despite the fact it won't offer a third row of seats and will be based on a subcompact platform. In our eyes, that makes it more of a replacement for the Dodge Caliber which went out of production in 2012. The Journey was only discontinued in 2020 after an 11-year run.
Since then, Dodge has not had a crossover in its lineup which is kind of a problem considering the segment's immense and growing popularity. The Hornet aims to fix that and because it's from Dodge, it should be a lot of fun to drive. Hornet production should get underway alongside the Tonale in the middle of next year at the Pomigliano D'Arco assembly plant in Italy.