Dodge is poised to get back into the small crossover market with the 2023 Hornet. Rather than reskinning a Jeep Compass like it did with the unloved Caliber, this time around Dodge has instead settled on sharing a platform with a Stellantis-company cousin, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. A 265-hp turbocharged four-cylinder with all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic is the standard setup but the R/T model is a plug-in hybrid with 285 ponies and more than 30 miles of electric driving. Not only will the Hornet offer Dodge’s first hybrid powertrain it’ll also boast the most high-tech equipment in the brand’s lineup, with standard features that include a digital gauge display, Uconnect 5 infotainment software, and automated emergency braking with pedestrian-and-cyclist detection. The nonhybrid GT models are expected to go on sale by the end of 2022 with the R/T PHEV models following shortly after in early 2023.
What's New for 2023?
The Hornet will be a new entrant in the Dodge lineup and will sit below the mid-size Durango. This small SUV will compete against rivals such as the compact Kia Seltos, the Mazda CX-30, and the Volkswagen Taos.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Dodge is offering the Hornet as either the GT or R/T PHEV for the 2023 model year, although other trims could be added later on. Dodge says the entry-level GT model will start around $30,000. When we find out more about the Hornet’s pricing and options, we’ll update this story with details and a recommendation on which model offers the most value.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Hornet GT models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 265 horsepower and comes paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional, and Dodge says this powertrain is good enough to motivate the Hornet to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The R/T model is Dodge’s first plug-in hybrid and it’s powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor that together combine for 285 horsepower. Instead of the nine-speed automatic from the GT, the R/T gets a six-speed automatic but still comes standard with all-wheel drive. The powertrain can temporarily boost output by 25 hp via a feature called PowerShot that’s activated by pulling both paddle shifters. With the PowerShot mode engaged, Dodge says the R/T PHEV can hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. When we get a chance to test these claims for ourselves, we’ll update this story with the Hornet’s performance results and driving impressions.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The plug-in hybrid R/T model comes with a 12.0-kWh battery pack that Dodge says is good for over 30 miles of electric driving per charge. Charging time on a level 2 charger is around two and a half hours.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for either Hornet model yet, but we’re expecting the R/T PHEV model to be the most efficient. When we get a chance, we’ll take the Hornet on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route and report its results here. For more information about the Hornet’s fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Judging from our first test drive of the Hornet’s Italian cousin—the Alfa Romeo Tonale—we’re expecting the cabin to be roomy for front-seat riders and tight for those in the back. Interior styling is similar to the Tonale’s too, with the primary controls and infotainment system slightly canted toward the driver and a tall shift lever for the automatic transmission positioned on the center console. The Hornet also uses the same steering wheel as the Alfa Romeo, albeit with a Dodge logo in the center, which features an integrated ignition switch beneath the left spoke. Black upholstery with red stitching is standard but the GT Plus and R/T Plus trims come with leather; those ordered with the optional Track package get faux-suede. An optional red leather interior option is also available.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All models come with a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge display. The software interface is the latest Uconnect 5 system which is in use on other Stellantis models such as the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and the Ram 1500 pickup truck. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features, as is Amazon Alexa connectivity. Upgrading to either the GT Plus or R/T Plus swaps in a 14-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo for the standard system and adds a wireless smartphone charging pad.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A host of driver-assistance features are standard on the Hornet, including automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection. All models also come with blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors. The optional Tech package adds adaptive cruise control with lane centering, among other features. For more information about the Hornet’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Dodge offers a fairly typical warranty with all new Hornet models; extended warranties are available for purchase through participating dealerships. The Seltos has the Dodge beat with a 10-year warranty and the Taos comes with two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance