The 2023 Dodge Hornet Is Here. The Electrified Version Gets A Tiny 1.3-Liter Engine And Makes A Ridiculous Amount Of Torque

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With a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a 90-kW (121 HP) electric motor, Dodge’s new crossover, The Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV, makes a combined “285-plus” horsepower and a ridiculous 383 lb-ft of torque. Here’s what we know about Dodge’s new mid-size crossover.

That 1.3-liter is the same “Global Small Engine” four-cylinder engine found in the Jeep Renegade and Alfa Romeo Tonale, with which the vehicle shares a platform. The motor and a six-speed automatic powers the front wheels while the electric motor, which Dodge deceivingly says “can deliver 1,844 lb.-ft. (2,500 Nm) of torque from 0 rpm,” sends the torque to the rears, and works with a 15.5-kWh refrigerant-cooled lithium-ion battery pack to get the vehicle roughly 30 miles down the street in fully electric mode. (Note That torque figure clearly includes a gear reduction, and doesn’t represent the torque made solely by the motor itself).

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There’s also a 2.0-liter Hurricane engine — the same one from the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee, among others — on GT models. Dodge says it’s “the industry’s quickest, most powerful utility vehicle under $30,000,” with “265-plus horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque” going to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic. Zero to 60 mph should go by in 6.5 seconds according to Dodge. Stopping from that speed involves Brembo four-piston front fixed calipers, which are standard R/T and optional on the GT.

Initially, the R/T PHEV actually accelerates slower than the GT, achieving the zero to 60 mph deed in 7.1 seconds. However, it has a trick up its sleeve that Dodge calls PowerShot. It works something like a boost power-up in a racing game. When you pull both paddle shifters then put the hammer down, the battery and electric motor provide a 15-second boost of an additional 25 horsepower. This shaves a full second off of the acceleration time, making the Hornet get the job done in 6.1 seconds.

Also like a power-up in a video game, PowerShot has a cooldown period. You have to wait 15 seconds before you can get another 15-second blast. Both the GT and the R/T get power to the road with help from torque vectoring. When the vehicle is driven in Sport Mode, the torque vectoring system will also act as an electronic limited-slip differential.

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The Hornet R/T can charge its own battery using a starter generator and regenerative braking. When plugged in with a Level 2 charger, the battery charges to full in 2.5 hours thanks to a high-power inverter and 7.4-kW charging module.

That power and the PHEV system of the R/T are only part of what’s going on under the Hornet’s sheet metal. You get a full independent suspension with MacPherson geometry up front and a three-link Chapman setup in the rear.  If you get your Hornet with the Track Pack option, you also get dual-stage valve shocks, which offer driver-selectable suspension damping.

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On the technology front, the Hornet gets a Level 2 driver-assistance package with adaptive cruise control, a system to keep the crossover in its lane, automatic emergency braking, and a speed assist system. Inside, the driver sits in front of a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster while a 10.25-inch screen commands the Uconnect 5 infotainment.

Just like the rest of the Dodge portfolio, the Hornet will have some factory-backed Direct Connection upgrades. Dodge rolled out the Dodge Hornet GT GLH Concept, an homage to the 1980s Dodge Omni GLH.

Glh

The Hornet GT GLH features what are mostly cosmetic parts with 20-inch wheels, racing stripes, and painted trim. That’s complemented with a lowered suspension and unrestricted exhaust. Dodge says that it also has a stage kit with stackable performance upgrades.

However, the automaker notes that details about exactly what parts will be available and horsepower numbers for the stage kits are to be revealed at a later date.

Dodge calls the Hornet R/T its first-ever electrified performance car. The Hornet does bring some fine numbers to the table and it seems like the company is trying to keep its performance-oriented spirit alive in this age of electrification. It’ll be interesting to see the Hornet’s final numbers for fuel economy and if SRT gets involved to make an even faster version.

(All photo credits to Stellantis.)

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120 Responses

  1. So this is dodge’s plan for the future. Adopt Alfas reputation for reliability and resale.
    They should just sell themselves to the Chinese and call it a day.

    1. As an Alfa fan, I feel the same way. Way to dilute both brands. Whomever approved this lazy marketing exercise should be fired, rehired, then fired again.

  2. Man, a lot of negativity on this one. Just think of it this way – this is essentially a tall hot hatch. You can even get a lowering kit!
    It’s also a performance oriented PHEV that costs under $50k, which in the US market pretty much stands alone. The Rav4 Prime or 330e are the only other mildly exciting PHEVs that don’t cost $75k+.

    1. I mean…I daily a Kona N so obviously I’m a bit biased here, but I think the hot CUV/crossover disdain amongst enthusiasts is misplaced for several reasons.

      1). The fact that they exist is keeping affordable performance oriented cars on the road. I’d rather have something like the Hornet than not have any fun options at all.

      2). They’re a great compromise. If you’re an enthusiast whose partner isn’t and/or you have kids, furry friends, etc. to haul around a small performance SUV works well AND you can sell your partner on it. I’m sure a lot of us are in this category…

      3). The extra ride height and higher seating position are really helpful for a lot of situations.

      4). If you get the right one you aren’t sacrificing performance as much as you think. Everyone is obsessed with stats, but how often do you actually get to push your car to its limits, or take it to the track? The answer is never for like 99% of the population. If it’s going to be a road car you’re not going to notice much of a difference between a performance CUV and a hot hatch. Trust me…I’ve owned and driven several of both.

      Would I prefer tearing up a backroad in a Miata, V8 pony car, or another coupe? Duh, but at the end of the day living with one of those sucks for most people. We all dream about a world with nothing but perfectly paved, winding roads without any traffic…but that’s not the reality we live in. For better or worse (worse, in many cases, but what can you do?) in our reality a sporty crossover works ridiculously well.

      If you get a chance to try out a Kona N, or a Macan, or an M/AMG/S variant of any of the German CUVs, do it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. I took the Kona out because I was looking at an Elantra N and wound up liking the overall package more.

  3. They call it a CUV… but all I’m seeing is a nice looking hatchback. A bit sad that there is no manual, but I’m not surprised.

    I predict this will do well. And the fact that it’s a mildly restyled Alfa Tonale is not a bad thing. Personally I think Stellantis should have either Dodge or Alfa Romeo for a given market… not both.

    And in North America, I expect that the Hornet will outsell the Alfa Toenail.

  4. Hmmmm. The Dodge SRT-4 had a sub-6.0 second 0-60 time in 2004. That’s 18 years ago. The $21k sticker price of that car would be $33k in today’s dollars. On the other hand, the Hornet is sure to be much safer than the SRT-4 and will certainly have a nicer interior. Plus, the Hornet is automatic-only to suit today’s inept drivers.

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  5. As a CUV goes I really don’t hate it, I even kind of like the look of it, and being a PEHV its even better. I still want my little manual hatchback but this is what the car world is churning out, GL to dodge here.

  6. the price may save it, but honestly when the Maverick is selling for 20K, it is hard to understand why this thing requires an additional 10K to get a bed cover.

  7. ms _one has a 2016 hrv and the new one has a turret feel* to the windows. This hornet has an attractive greenhouse, gotta take a look.
    *small views interspersed with armor

  8. I like a lot of things about this, even the generic crossover look is alright. I am surprised that with all these numbers it is only .2 seconds faster than my stock Fiesta ST. I would expect it would be way faster.

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