Dodge has been out of the compact SUV game for a bit now, but their all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet is starting to take shape for the space.
Dodge has primarily been known for their modern muscle car options featuring supercharged power houses. They’ve dabbled in other automotive categories though, like the Grand Caravan minivan and the Ram trucks that have spun off into their own subbrand. The Dodge brand has also made appearances in the ever-popular SUV world, but the only one that’s around today is the Durango with its muscle car-esque design and performance. Otherwise, Dodge SUVs like the Journey, Nitro, and even the crossover/hatchback Caliber couldn’t make enough of an impact in the automotive market to stick around.
With Stellantis recently pointing its brands towards a more sustainable future, questions surrounding the Dodge brand and its exclusively internal combustion engine models have come up. Well, we may have a glimpse into what’s to become of the Dodge brand. A new mid-size SUV has been spotted testing in camouflage and it’s rumored to be an incoming plug-in-hybrid option to the brand that’s dedicated to tire spinning power. Here’s what we can expect from the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet SUV.
The Hornet name isn’t new for Dodge. It originally debuted back in 2006 as the name for a concept compact multi-purpose vehicle. The boxy Hornet concept back then looked similar to a Kia Soul with Fiat underpinnings and a squished dodge crossbar grille up front. Needless to say, this Hornet didn’t come to market as its planned production coincided with the Great Recession back in 2008.
But now we may have our first glimpses at the Dodge Hornet of today. First, we’ll look at appearances. Those with knowledge of the Alfa Romeo lineup may recognize a lot of similarities to the Tonale in this camouflaged Dodge SUV. That’s exactly the case here. Since both Alfa Romeo and Dodge reside under the Stellantis umbrella, they’re utilizing each other’s platforms to rebrand and reach other audiences. The profile, side mirrors, windows, shark fin antenna, and just about everything else is a direct copy of the Tonale from what we can see.
What is clearly different so far is the front fascia design. They’re mostly covered in current images, but they look to replicate the grille and headlight design currently found on the Durango and Charger while thinning them to fit the Tonale’s features. The Hornet test car also features some wheels that look strikingly similar to the ones found on base models from Dodge as well.
Going inside of the Dodge Hornet should be a visually similar experience to the Alfa Romeo Tonale as well, just with Dodge branding throughout. We can speculate that the Hornet will feature the same dashboard layout, available 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen (more than likely running an updated UConnect software), a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, and a Harmon Kardon audio system. The interior design of the Tonale is already pretty sporty in appearance and features heavily bolstered seating, so it should fit right in with the rest of Dodge’s lineup there.
Now on to the potential performance we can expect in the 2023 Dodge Hornet based on what we already know about the Tonale. There are two powertrains to choose from and both feature an all-wheel drive drivetrain. The first is a plug-in-hybrid option that utilizes a turbocharged 1.3L inline-four engine paired with an electric motor powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This setup is then paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends 272 horsepower to the wheels. Being a plug-in-hybrid, the Tonale can also go for 30 miles on just electric power.
The other option that isn’t on lock to make it as of yet is a non-hybridized, turbocharged 2.0L inline-four engine that makes 256 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Being Dodge, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this non-hybrid option make it. In that similar vein, we could also see Dodge’s introduce a performance version in the same way Hellcat engines have been shoved into the rest of their lineup. There’s some extremely serious doubt that we’ll see the supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 in this new SUV, but this could be their first foray into a performance hybrid. Electric motors have come a long way and more record-breaking speeds are being made with performance hybrid vehicles. Plus, HellHornet would be a heck of a name.
Dodge has yet to give us a firm date on the Dodge Hornet’s official reveal, but there are murmurs that we could expect to see the official vehicle sometime in August. This may not be a step in the direction that some longtime fans were hoping for, but it’s the right one given the current automotive climate. This is just the tip of the electrified iceberg for Dodge too, as they have plans to introduce future electric vehicles under the Fratzog subbrand in the not-so-distant future. What do you think? Is this the right move for Dodge? Will you be looking at the Dodge Hornet hybrid? Let us know below!