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2023 Dodge Hornet: Can EVs Really Become Muscle Cars?

2023 Dodge Hornet First Look
Written by Nick Steiner

Every time some car enthusiasts hear the name “Dodge,” they think of muscle cars like the Challenger or the Charger. When other automakers were focusing on smaller turbocharged engines, Dodge was ruling the streets through massive V6 and V8 engine-powered muscle cars and SUVs.

However, Dodge is going to make a new approach in 2022 by reviving a relic of the past. The “Hudson Hornet” was a famous NASCAR vehicle, and continued its production until 1977.

Dodge once even tried to bring the “Hornet” back in 2006, but the timing just wasn’t right.

Now, Dodge is making a comeback and plans to enter the new era of electrified mobility. Before they invest completely into the “Electric muscle car” world, they are planning to revive the famous “Hornet” as a turbocharged, hybrid SUV. Introducing the new 2023 Dodge Hornet lineup.

2023 Dodge Hornet: First look!

2023 Dodge Hornet

**Photo Courtesy: Instagram

Configuration

The Dodge Hornet GT is the very first PHEV (electric vehicle) from the muscle car builder company. Dodge primarily focused on thirsty muscle cars and SUVs before.

Some rumors even say that the Hornet is a “Compliance car” to raise Dodge’s CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). However, the Hornet GT indicates a new era of electric muscle cars.

The main goal of Dodge seems to be delivering the most powerful and fastest compact utility vehicle (CUV) under $30,000 and introducing new buyers to their upcoming electric muscle cars.

However, Dodge wants the Hornet more than just an SUV or a CUV, and that’s why they are offering turbocharged power and AWD on all models.

There are 3 total trims available for the Hornet. They are the 1) GT, 2) GT plus, and 3) R/T.

The GT and GT plus are gas-powered, and the R/T uses a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain. The structure and engineering are shared with one of Dodge’s sibling brand’s new arrival, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale.

The GT version is expected to hit the market in December 2022 and the R/T version will follow suit in spring 2023. However, Dodge has successfully heated up the market, as already 14,000 pre-orders have been confirmed.

Interior

The Hornet features a sporty interior that resembles the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The controls and displays are driver-oriented, meaning they are slightly tilted to the driver. The SUV-type body allows a roomy cabin for the front seats (2 people) and a tight squeeze (3 people) in the back.

GT owners will get an Alcantara trim whereas the plus and the R/T model will have a leather trim. However, all models will get a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, rain-sensing wipers, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa.

They’ll also get signature red stitching and accents across the car’s interior that extends into the vents, the seats, and the center switches. Although the model shares a similar steering wheel as the Tonale, the GT has an integrated ignition switch beneath the left spoke.

The R/T and the GT Plus also feature heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a wireless smartphone charging pad (2 phones), and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo with a subwoofer.

The Hornet also utilizes Dodge’s android-based Uconnect 5 system that controls the HVAC system. The GT version offers 27 cubic feet of cargo space without removing any seats. That cargo space shortens to 22.9 cubic feet on the R/T model.

Exterior

The Hornet’s exterior is designed in a way you’ll easily recognize it as a Dodge vehicle. The headlights, the full-width tail light, and the grille are the biggest reminders of that. The structure and shape resemble the Tonale, However, there is a hint of Challenger and Charger in the front.

According to many car enthusiasts, the front of the new Hornet vaguely resembles the Dodge Dart sedan. The car has slim headlights and a low-profile grille. On the back side, the taillights go across the car’s full width and feature an illuminated Dodge Rhombi logo in the middle. The LED daytime lights add a special touch.

The Hornet GT is 178 inches long, 82 inches wide (Including the mirrors), and 63.8 inches tall. It uses a 103.8-inch wheelbase. The model weighs around 3,715 lbs. The GT plus share the same configuration, but the R/T model is shorter on the ground clearance and weighs more (4,140 lbs).

The single continuous stripe across the body in the GLH edition looks amazing. The roofline gently drops to the top of the rear hatch. The body cladding has a glossy dark gray finish.

The GT comes with 17-inch silver wheels and the R/T features 18-inch gray graphite wheels. You’ll get numerous color options for your Dodge Hornet.

Engine and performance

The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT is equipped with a 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine named “Hurricane4”.

Thanks to the direct fuel injection, the engine can generate over 268 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. However, the owners will be able to tune their engines and produce as much as 300 HP!

The hybrid R/T combines the power of a 4-cylinder, 1.3-liter turbocharged engine with a 90 kW electric motor. According to Dodge, the sport mode will tighten the steering, and throttle input; and stiffen the suspension (additional dampers required), allowing the car to accelerate from 0-60 mph within 6.5 seconds!

Both powertrains will offer an all-wheel-driving (AWD) system with torque vectoring for better control and a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The R/T version can produce a maximum output of 288 hp and 383 lb-ft when the two powertrains are combined. The electric mode can travel up to 35 miles on a full charge.

However, the most impressive feature of the hybrid comes named “PowerShot” (more information on that later).

Both the GT and the R/T version are also equipped with Koni high-performance dumping shocks, 4-piston Bembo brakes (optional on GT, standard on R/T), and electronic Limited-Slip Differentials.

Hornet GT owners can also lower the fully independent suspension on both the front and rear sides, and add a free-flowing exhaust if they want a little more power out of their system. The R/T version will come with a 12.0 kWh battery pack.

Features

The Hornet is here to sting. According to car enthusiasts, with the right combination of raw muscle power and advanced modern features, the Hornet is about to stir up the market. To give the driver a proper racecar vibe, the R/T version is equipped with a PHEV powertrain that can add around 25 HP to your engine’s capacity.

Many of you are familiar with the nitro boost, right? The “PowerShot” works in a similar way, but for electric vehicles. This is a temporary boost that can last up to 15 seconds and require a 15-second cooldown before you can activate it again.

With the power boost, the speedster R/T can reach 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. The system also features a high-power inverter and a 7.4 kW charging module. It’ll take around 2.5 hours to recharge the battery using a level 2 charger.

Tech-savvy people will love the advanced driving features. Amazon Alexa can be used to control your car remotely via Uconnect 5. The Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) is equipped with advanced features that can make driving a lot safer.

Some mention-worthy ADAS features are parking sensors, cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane support system, and rear cross path alert.

There are 4 additional upgrade packages available for different driving conditions. The lowest upgrade package is named the “Cold Weather Package” and costs about $495. This will include a remote starting system, heated steering will, and front seats.

The next upgrade is named “Blacktop Package” but this is not a performance package. This is a design package for those who love an extra touch of elegance on their ride. The package costs around $1,995 and includes Dark GT and Hornet badges, gloss black painted mirror caps,18-inch black wheels, and gloss black painted daylight openings.

The “Tech Pack” unlocks level 2 autonomy through the Advanced Driver-Assistance System. This pack comes at $2,245 and contains numerous safety features. Some of the most hyped features are Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), adaptive cruise control, ParkSense Park Assist in front and rear w/stop, traffic sign recognition, traffic jam assist, and Drowsy Driver Detection.

However, the most anticipated upgrade comes with the priciest upgrade package named “Track Pack”. The sporty nature of the Hornet comes to life with this one. Although it was unheard of to combine a track pack with a front-wheel-drive-biased vehicle, not anymore.

The package costs $2,995 and installs dual-mode suspension, red brake calipers, bright pedals, sporty steering wheel (leather), steel door sills, and 20-inch rims. The pack enhances both the performance and aesthetics of this tiny beast.

Dodge is also offering a GLH performance package that combines all the performance and aesthetic goodies under one roof. GLH stands for “Goes Like Hell”, which was used in the Omni GLH hot hatchback in the 1980s. The price and detailed specifications are yet to be confirmed.

Price

The 2023 Hornet GT is expected to hit the dealerships by the end of 2022. The hybrid R/T PHEV will be available within spring 2023.

Dodge is setting a sub-$30,000 price range for their base Hornet GT version. The model will cost around $29,995 without any additional charges (like the destination fee). The GT Plus will go for $34,995 and the price of the R/T version will start at an MSRP of $39,995.

Competition

The primary competition for the Hornet GT will be hotshots like the Mazda CX-30, Honda HR-V, Volkswagen Taos, and Hyundai Kona. Although most of the rivals are offering a luxurious experience, none of them are offering a hybrid or PHEV option. As a result, the Hornet has already stirred the market up and created significant hype.

However, the R/T model will face a tough challenger, the Toyota RAV4 Prime. The electric RAV4 has better power output (300 HP+) and better mileage. We’ll be waiting to see which one attracts the market more and with what.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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