2023 Dodge Hornet RT & GT
by Ric Green

Dodge chose the recent Miami International Auto Show to showcase the first all-new model in more than a decade. The 2023 Dodge Hornet is the American heavyweight’s break into the fiercely competitive crossover segment with its first plug-in hybrid model.

The Hornet name itself goes back to the 1950s, and Dodge even tried to revive it when it showcased a concept compact SUV back in 2006. But due to a downturn in the economy, that project never saw the showroom.

Now in 2023, the Dodge Hornet is back and is a close relative of the Italian Alfa Romeo Tonale, but with a Detroit muscle twist.  The folks from Auburn Hills, Michigan have made their mark with good old V-8s for decades, but this front-wheel drive-powered compact crossover marks a departure from that ethos. As per Dodge, the 2023 Hornet hitting the South Florida market will be the most powerful and fastest sub-$30,000 small SUV on sale.

Constructed in Italy, the Hornet shares the body with the great performer, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and its brother, the electrified Tonale, which hit the market in February ’22.

The new Hornet features a transverse engine and, like the Alfa Romeo, Dodge is putting the emphasis on speed, agility, and performance.

The 2023 Hornet is available in two flavors, the Hornet GT and the Hornet R/T.  Both models feature standard all-wheel drive, with the former using a conventional gasoline engine and the latter using a hybrid drivetrain to power the front and rear wheels.

Now comes the science and difference between the GT and the RT. Under the hood of the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT, you’ll find the Hurricane 4, which is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four that produces over 265 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The GT employs a nine-speed automatic gearbox and gets to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. Switching to Sport mode optimizes the throttle response, gear changes, and steering weight.

The Dodge Hornet R/T, on the other hand, comes with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, and a 90-kilowatt electric motor mounted on the rear axle that draws power from a 15.5 kWh battery pack.

With the two powertrains working together, you get a combined power output of over 285 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, with 184 pound-feet coming from that rear electric motor alone. They work with a six-speed automatic transmission. A new PowerShot mode with an additional 25 extra horsepower is available for around 15 seconds and will come with the plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Aside from that, the Hornet R/T also offers an all-electric driving range of about 30 miles (EPA numbers TBA). The battery can be fully charged in about 2.5 hours using a level-two charging system with a 7.2-kilowatt onboard module. On the R/T, you can choose from a bunch of drive modes including Hybrid, Electric, and E-Save.

What sets the Hornet apart from the competition is the ride and handling package range of class- exclusive features on offer. They include: Koni frequency selective damping shocks which are standard on the R/T and available on the GT; Four-piston Brembo front brakes which are standard on the R/T and available on the GT; Brake-by-wire Intelligent Braking System, Dynamic torque vectoring; and Electronic limited-slip differential.

With this level of performance hardware available, you can expect the Hornet to take corners with composure. But if that doesn’t get your pulse racing, then MOPAR has you covered and will answer the call of the enthusiast. The upgrades may be anything from a complete engine tune to new wheels, exhaust, and even custom graphics. A nationwide manufacturer warranty protects your investment with these upgrades. Available exclusively through Dodge’s Power broker-dealers, they promise to offer so much more for the Hornet to spec it to provide even higher levels of performance.

My heart is racing!