2023 Dodge Hornet Revealed As The Most Powerful SUV Under $30,000

Reveal / 45 Comments

This is the muscle car of the compact crossover segment.

  • Fastest, quickest, and most powerful sub-$30k compact crossover in America
  • First-ever electrified performance product from Dodge
  • Two power levels with more than 268 horsepower in base form, 285-plus hp in R/T, and standard all-wheel drive
  • Revives the GLH (Goes Like Hell) nomenclature from Dodge's past

This is the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet, and we know what you're thinking.

How dare Dodge introduce a crossover as part of its Speed Week program, which has, so far, included a new Challenger Convertible and a drag racing rolling chassis among a plethora of reveals and teasers to send the gas-powered muscle car out with a bang?

The new Hornet is not your typical crossover. Dodge says the Hornet opens a new gateway to the Brotherhood of Muscle. To back up a bold statement like that, Dodge also revealed the Hornet will be the quickest, fastest, most powerful compact utility vehicle available for less than $30,000 - proving that the brand isn't going after your typical crossover buyer.

Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge

Performance Highlights

Two flavors of performance are available, both with standard all-wheel drive. The Hornet GT is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot called the Hurricane4. It will be the most powerful gas engine in the segment when it arrives, producing 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

The R/T trim is a 1.3-liter turbocharged plug-in hybrid, but not as we know it. Much like McLaren did with the P1, Dodge uses electricity for performance rather than fuel saving, endowing the Hornet with 285 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The 30-mile electric driving range is just a happy coincidence of the 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, though it can do that as well via three hybrid driving modes.

We're far more interested in the hybrid's PowerShot feature. By pulling both shift paddles behind the wheel, you get an additional 25-hp burst. The result is a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds, while the GT does the same in 6.5 seconds.

Dodge Dodge Dodge

Looks Like A Muscle Car

The Hornet is a product of platform sharing. It's based on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Tonale but with Dodge design DNA slathered on top. The hood has integrated heat extractors, while the headlights serve as a reminder of where this SUV comes from. Even though the Challenger and Charger will be dead by the end of the year, their DNA will live on in the design of the Hornet.

At the rear, it has a taillamp that extends the vehicle's width. The lamp features a lighted red signature, as well as an illuminated Dodge Rhombi logo in the center - a first for Dodge.

Being the halo model, the R/T gets 18-inch Graphite Grey alloys, while the GT rides on 17-inch Silver wheels. Both models can be ordered with a Blacktop Package or a Track Pack, the latter bumping the wheels to 20-inch size.

Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge

As we've come to expect from Dodge, the exterior color names are as entertaining as they are vivid. Available options include Acapulco Gold, Blu Bayou, Blue Steele, Gray Cray, Hot Tamale, Q Ball, and 8 Ball.

In true performance car fashion, the interior design is focused on the driver, with the center stack canted in the pilot's direction.

The obligatory 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system running the latest Uconnect5 operating system are available. The latter has all the necessary connectivity features, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while an available 465-watt, 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system provides high-end audio quality.

Black upholstery features as standard with red stitching and accents to add a sporty touch. Leather becomes available from the GT Plus and R/T trims with full red as an option, but speccing the Track Pack gives you Alcantara with more red accents and the Dodge Rhombus embroidered on the seatbacks.

Standard driver assistance features include automatic emergency braking, a lane support system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Dodge Dodge Dodge

Goes Like A Muscle Car, Too

But all of the above pales compared to the performance and the available upgrades.

The GT and its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot are fairly pragmatic, despite more power than any other crossover at this price point. The final power figure is under wraps for now, but Dodge promises more than 265 hp, while 295 lb-ft of torque is more than ample. Power is routed to all four corners via a nine-speed automatic transmission.

But the Hornet R/T PHEV is something else. It features a 1.3-liter turbocharged all-aluminum engine built in the USA to power the front axle. The rear is driven by a 90 kW electric motor delivering 184 lb-ft from 1 rpm. The 15.5 kWh battery pack can be charged in 2.5 hours on a Level 2 charger.

Dodge Dodge Dodge

Both cars have a Sport mode, and the PHEV has that additional PowerShot we mentioned earlier. The 25-hp boost lasts for 15 seconds, after which the car has to cool down for 15 seconds. And then you can PowerShot it again.

But power is nothing without control. Underneath the Hornet, you'll find Koni shocks and available adaptive dampers - another class-exclusive feature. Brembo brakes with four-piston fixed front calipers, standard on R/T, available on the GT, handle stopping, coupled with regenerative braking on the R/T. A torque vectoring system mimics the effects of an electronic limited-slip differential in Sport mode. Dodge claims best-in-class maximum lateral g-force numbers of 0.90 for the R/T model and 0.87 for the GT.

Fully independent rear suspension with a three-link Chapman suspension setup adds another layer of complexity to the Hornet's repertoire.

Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge

The Return Of Dodge 'Goes Like Hell'

The Hornet is also launching with an impressive range of Direct Connection upgrades, including a stage kit with stackable performance upgrades for the GT, suspension drop kits, unrestricted dual exhausts, graphics, and painted and machine-faced wheels.

The big news is the revival of the 'Goes Like Hell' nomenclature from the brand's past, with the name last used on the Dodge Omni GLH produced in the mid-1980s.

A Hornet GT GLH Concept showcases the full extent of what the Direct Connection upgrades can do, promising even more power and performance. While Dodge wouldn't make exact claims, brand CEO Tim Kuniskis told media in a briefing before the reveal that in GLH spec, the Hornet will have a better power-to-weight ratio than the original and twice the torque of the Omni GLH-S - the Shelby-tuned variant.

Performance parts for the PHEV will also be made available in due course.

Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge

Pricing & Availability

The all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet will be built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano d'Arco, Naples, Italy - which is the same plant that produces the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT will open for orders on August 17, 2022, with deliveries starting towards the end of this year.

The best bit is the price. The Dodge Hornet GT starts at $29,995 for the Base, increasing to $34,995 for the GT Plus. A Base R/T starts at $39,995, with the top-spec costing $44,995.

"The Dodge brand's electrified transformation has left the starting line, with the all-new Dodge Hornet R/T representing the first electrified performance vehicle from Dodge," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand CEO. "The Dodge Hornet is poised to jolt the mainstream compact utility vehicle segment with looks, feel and performance that are unmistakably Dodge. This is just the start of the Dodge brand's electrification journey."

Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge Dodge

Join The Discussion



Related Cars

To Top