That Stings: 2023 Dodge Hornet

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
that stings 2023 dodge hornet

The self-proclaimed muscle car brand is finally dipping a toe into the ultra-hot (and ultra-competitive) compact crossover market. It will launch as a 2023 model – the first new Dodge in recent memory, it should be noted – with the choice of a gasoline powerplant or a plug-in hybrid. 

And as part of the festivities, Dodge is bringing back a trio of consonants from their history books: GLH.

This new Hornet range starts with the GT, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four from the Hurricane family of engines. It’s good for 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque when fed premium fuel. All-wheel drive is standard and a nine-speed automatic makes for this engine’s dance partner. 

Further up the food chain is an R/T trim, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with 288 net combined horsepower and 383 lb.-ft of “total installed” torque. That notation is both curious and worth mentioning, since electric motors and internal combustion engines don’t necessarily make peak power at the same time. For what it’s worth, the 1.3L ICE makes 199 lb-ft and the rear axle e-Motor produces 184 lb-ft of twist. This does indeed add up to 383, but whether the totality of that sum is available at once remains to be seen. 

Dodge says this combo offers more than 30 miles of all-electric range via a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. A six-speed auto handles shifting duties. Like the GT, the R/T is all-wheel drive. A party trick on the PHEV is a so-called PowerShot feature in which the battery unleashes 25 extra horsepower for 15 seconds at the push of a button. There are various and sundry drive modes in the PHEV for saving battery juice, likely developed from lessons learned in the Grand Cherokee 4xe which has similar functions.

But what about the GLH? Crafted from a few pages in the Direct Connection catalog, it provides a look at one potential performance path created with DC parts. This particular effort, shown in the hero shot atop this post, has a suspension lowering kit, a so-called ‘stage kit’ which gives unspecified performance upgrades to the GT powertrain, unique exhaust, and a smattering of visual addenda. It’s likely that Dodge is testing the waters with this “concept” GLH to gauge reaction before committing to production.

Inside, a standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen houses Uconnect 5 software with features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Alexa integration. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster looks snazzy, and a 14-speaker Harman-Kardon sound system is on the options sheet. Alcantara seating is available, along with a flat-bottomed steering wheel plus a scatter of red trim. In short, it meshes with its Dodge brothers pretty well.

And, for those in the B&B yelling at their computer screen, this car is absolutely based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Top brass insists the Hornet’s doors are the only body pieces shared with the Italian, pointing to the Hornet’s muscular front end and trademark lighting signatures as proof it earned a spot in Dodge’s aggro lineup of vehicles. The model-specific Hornet badge certainly fits that theme.

Prices start at an agreeable $29,995 for the GT and $39,995 for the R/T plus destination fees. Order books open for GT models today with deliveries starting in December, while the R/T is expected to hit dealer lots next Spring.

[Image: Dodge]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by   subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation
2 of 21 comments
  • Eng_alvarado90 Eng_alvarado90 on Aug 18, 2022

    The GT sounds like good value at $30K, but the R/T seems a bit steep at $10K upcharge. I'm sceptic about the PHEV powertrain being noticeably more efficient nor better performing.

    Maybe the added features are worth it ?

    • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 18, 2022

      I agree - at 30K, with this kind of power, it’s a LOT more appealing than, say, a HR-V or Corolla Cross. And I think that in this case, the PHEV system is more about providing MOAR POWER with reasonable efficiency, versus hyper-miling.

  • Varezhka Varezhka on Aug 18, 2022

    Looks fine, but that design combined with slant badge made me think LatAm market Fiat more than anything. Which I guess is fine because they're the same family and sales territories doesn't really overlap?

  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.
  • Inside Looking Out To me it looks like French version of Hummer. The difference is that while American Hummer projects power French little Oli projects weakness.That vehicle reflects the bleak future for EU. For now they have to survive coming winter but in general population collapse it coming soon, Europeans will be gone in the long run. Only artifacts like this concept and legends will remind us about advanced and proud civilization that populated that small continent the civilization that in the end lacked will to exist.
  • Conundrum "the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union." Nah, wrong. But it's Posky, so should I be surprised? That body material, Duroplast, was invented by Germans, used on the East German Trabant car and dulled many a saw blade when trying to cut it. Soviets made regular sheet tin cars. Nothing fancy, they just worked, like Soviet farm tractors you could repair with a pipe wrench and a 14 lb maul. They exported quite a few to Canada in the '60s and '70s and people used to swear by them.I suppose this new Citroen Ollie has LED lights. If they fail, does one go to the Dollarama for a $1 flashlight, then rip out and use those LED "bulbs" for a repair?I think this Ollie thing is off the rails. The Citroen 2CV was ingenious, both in chassis and especially suspension design and execution, but where's the innovation in this thing? Processed cardboard panels, when corrugated tin, a Citroen and Junkers favorite fascination would be just fine. Updated with zinc coating from circa 1912 and as used in garbage cans and outdoor wash tubs ever since, the material lasts for decades. Citroen chose not to zinc plate their 2CVs, just as the car industry only discovered the process in the mid 1980s, lagging garbage can manufacturers by three-quarters of acentury, with Japan holding out until the mid '90s. Not many 1995 Accords still around.This Ollie thing is a swing and a complete miss, IMO. Silly for silly's sake, but that's the modern day automotive designer for you. Obsessed with their own brilliance, like BMW and Toyota's crews creating mugs/maws only a catfish could love, then claiming it's for "brand identity" when people take offense at ugly and say so. They right, you wrong. And another thing -- hell, Ford in the 1950s, if not well before, and innumberable Australians found that a visor stuck out from the roof over the windshield keeps the sun out when necessary, but Citroen delivers first class BS that an upright windshield is the solution. And as GM found out in their newly-introduced late 1930s transit buses, flat windshields are bad for reflections, so they actually changed to a rearward slanting windshield.This design reeks of not applying already learned lessons, instead coming up with useless new "ideas" of almost zero merit. But I'm sure they're proud of themselves, and who gives a damn about history, anyway? "We new young whiz kids know better".