Home » The Dodge Hornet Owners Forum Is Full Of People Who Regret Buying Hornets

The Dodge Hornet Owners Forum Is Full Of People Who Regret Buying Hornets

Dodge Hornet Mad Bro Ts2
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When the Dodge Hornet launched, it almost seemed like a cut-priced Porsche Macan for the rest of us. For its first mainstream crossover sold in America since the Journey, Dodge swiped Alfa Romeo’s Tonale off the windowsill while it was still cooling, then disguised it as Auburn Hills’ own cooking. Unfortunately, the Dodge Hornet is currently living up to Italian car stereotypes, as owners on the dedicated Hornet forum seem absolutely livid.

In case you’ve never been on a new model-specific car forum, they’re typically self-defensive circlejerks of unhealthily obsessed individuals vigorously edging over options sheets until some registered flex offender comes bearing the rarest example of all, at which point the biscuit, as Fred Durst would say, gets limp. And being made up of people who spent enough money on a car they joined a forum about it, they are often knee-jerk defensive critiques of said vehicles. Needless to say, broader forums are often more fun. Ask anyone who was on VWVortex for the “hit two a crub and 2 fents” incident.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

However, the Hornet owners forum is even more entertaining than that, because it’s full of Hornet owners shitting all over Stellantis.

A common thread is electrical issues. From dashboards that go blank to blinded adaptive cruise control, owners are reporting all manner of miscellaneous errors wreaking havoc with basic functions. Oh, and as the complaints roll in, a mountain of evidence continues to pile up. Sure, you can buy a Dodge Hornet off the dealership lot right now thanks to a 517-day supply, but after reading what owners have to say, would you really want to?

While the jokes write themselves, they certainly won’t help troubled Hornet owners. Take this owner, for example, who claims to be on a schoolteacher income and is absolutely beside themselves with how unreliable their new crossover is.

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I purchased my Dodge Hornet September 9, 2023 and it has already broken down. I had to have it towed Monday to the Dodge dealership and the mechanic just called me and said that there are 200 different codes going off. I am so upset and scared that I was sold a lemon. … This was the first vehicle I purchased on my own and now I am so disappointed. … My parents live in Michigan, are extremely worried about me, my safety, and the cost and inconvenience this is causing me.

So Disappointed

Dodge Hornet Lemon 1

If you’re buying a new compact crossover, you shouldn’t have to worry about backup transportation, or the presence of a purported 200 codes. I’ve seen tenth-owner Bangle-era BMWs with fewer stored codes, and this is a brand new car!

Oh look, another Hornet owner claiming electrical issues. Constant cruise control deactivation is aggravating, random triggering of the alarm system is a surefire way of making all your neighbors hate you, and heated steering wheels shouldn’t get too hot to touch. On the plus side, this owner by the username Merlyn might not be a Hornet owner for much longer. As they wrote, “Ah HA – so the [lemon law] buy back is FIVE TIMES!!!! I do believe I’m on the 4th time.”

First little trip, cruise control kept malfunctioning – popping out and I had to keep messing with it to activate it – it did this every 10 miles or so. The all warning lights came on – alarm sounds off for no reason when doing simple errands. Service said – it pops out of cruise control to “make sure you’re paying attention” LOL – alarm – …  he said, “maybe a loud Harley went by triggering the alarm” – It’s in service for the 4th time today. It won’t stay in cruise control for even 2 miles … The crash warning starts beeping for no reason also, which is a bit startling. The heated steering wheel got way to hot to touch twice. Ah HA – so the buy back is FIVE TIMES!!!! I do believe I’m on the 4th time.

Dodge Hornet Lemon 2

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This owner has it particularly bad, since they claim “Of the 14 days I have owned the vehicle it has been in the shop for 4 full days and should have been in longer.” Ouch. As is starting to seem typical from this little crossover, a single issue isn’t the culprit, but multiple problems from the hyperactive alarm system to malfunctioning power mirrors seem to be at play.

While coming over an over pass, my dash lit up and I lost all acceleration. … my adaptive cruise control had failed. I am so grateful I was driving the vehicle not my new driver son. He would have ended up in the ditch. … I noted my sideview mirrors are not opening every time the car powers on. The car has 2 different alarm sounds and it went off intermittently. The front and rear collision system lights continued to go off … The service tech advised there is not currently a fix for the issues, but Chrysler engineering has assured there will be something in Q4 of this year … Of the 14 days I have owned the vehicle it has been in the shop for 4 full days and should have been in longer. My dealership has advised there is no way to cancel the deal or reverse it, no but back option, and my only recourse is to complain to Chrysler Customer Service and hope they will offer some discount to apply to a trade in on a different vehicle.

14 Days

Owners report that last month, an update came out for, among other things, the adaptive cruise control system. Could this be the cure Hornet drivers were waiting for? Well, yes and no. While the consensus is that the updates have made adaptive cruise control better, it still reportedly gets foiled by something everyone experiences: direct sunlight.

Dodge Hornet Acc Update

Of course, some owners are going beyond expressing concern over specific issues, giving it a little bit of vitriol without any semblance of pushback. As forum user rachelg wrote:

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This is by far the WORST investment I have ever made in my life. HUGE HUGE fail on Dodge’s part. Releasing a vehicle without even making sure the damn interior lights work not to mention all the other electrical issues on top of that?
Can not wait to get rid of this piece of crap car. :joy:
Good luck to everyone else, cause I can guarantee if you don’t have issues now, you most certainly will!!”

And forum user G-Mann takes a surprisingly meta approach, writing that:

I have purchased 5 different vehicles over the last 3 years and on all the forums and I have never seen a forum like this one riddled with problems and issues galore. It won’t be long before the car magazines & internet articles start pointing it out and resale value kaput.

Unsurprisingly, many of the issues owners complain about are backed up by technical service bulletins–manufacturer communications for common problems. Care to guess how many technical service bulletins apply to the Dodge Hornet? That’s right, 67, for issues as varied as prematurely worn spark plugs and imperial speed limit signs being incorrectly translated to metric units. Curiously, the vast majority involve firmware-related or software-related issues, which certainly doesn’t alleviate Italian car electrical system stereotypes.

Dodge Hornet Acc TSB

One of my favorites is a technical service bulletin claiming that the adaptive cruise control system somehow requires defined road markings to work, otherwise an “ACC Temporarily Blocked” message displays on the instrument panel. While it would make sense if poor road markings affected lane-centering assistance, adaptive cruise control should only control vehicle speed and following distance, so it’s a little strange that worn road markings would render the adaptive cruise control inactive. There are plenty of cars that don’t have this issue because they can follow the lead car.

2024 Dodge Hornet Gt

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We are currently living in the era of what manufacturers call the software-defined vehicle, in which a substantial chunk of a vehicle’s identity and experience comes through software, graphics, and gizmos. While cars have featured firmware in their powertrain computers for more than 40 years, and software for cabin technology for decades, modern advancements like integrated modems and over-the-air updates have quickly put software at the front of the conversation. While this has enabled automakers to offer slicker interior electronics, it also means more code to write, test, and revise, and that it’s possible to push cars out the door before they’re digitally finished under a “fix it in post” mentality.

Back in 2013, Jeep delayed delivery of its Cherokee crossover because the ZF nine-speed automatic transmission wasn’t calibrated to an acceptable consumer standard. The hardware was all there, but the firmware wasn’t. Judging by issues owners are having with the Dodge Hornet, Stellantis may have been wise to pay attention to its history and pump the brakes until the majority of electronic bugaboos are worked out. Granted, Dodge needed this car since the rest of its lineup consists of emissions-intensive bruisers, but the Tonale that it’s based on has been on sale since 2022. Oh, and of this is before we even get into the fire-risk recall affecting plug-in hybrid models.

The Dodge Hornet Features A Vehicle Width Taillamp With A Center

Judging by owner reports and the sheer number of technical service bulletins out there, the Achilles heel of the Dodge Hornet is its own electronic suite. While it’s theoretically possible for many of its issues to be fixed or mitigated with time and updates, it doesn’t seem like owners feel their problems have been resolved. Until then, be cautious. If you need a compact crossover that simply works and offers a little bit of fun, a Mazda CX-5 probably remains your best bet.

However, all these issues haven’t stopped a tiny number of Hornet owners from viewing things through rose-tinted spectacles. As Hornet Owners user ralplpcr wrote:

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Thank you for writing this post! I was honestly getting somewhat tired of all the negative “horror stories” and complaints. It’s good to see someone saying positive things about our cars!

Like many, I have a few gremlins with my Hornet. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not perfect….but I really like it a lot in spite of all that! It is fun to drive, and definitely gets a lot of attention when cruising around.

Yes, I have some annoying issues with the ACC randomly turning off. Yes, my heated seats/steering wheel will sometimes refuse to turn on. But none of this prevents me from being able to enjoy driving it – – it’s mostly an inconvenience, and since I’ve never had these features in a car before, it’s not as though I can’t live without them?

Spoken like a true Alfa Romeo owner.

(Photo credits: Dodge, Hornet Owners)

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Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
24 days ago

If I was on the fence about a Hornet, the TV commercial I saw yesterday would have made me jump off on the no side. I didn’t catch how much is due at signing on a Hornet lease, but the monthly payment advertised was $59 a month!

That tells me the Hornet is a really, really difficult sell (or lease).

LaythU-K
LaythU-K
6 months ago

Stellantis: Keeping the Malaise spirit alive!

Lamare Perry
Lamare Perry
6 months ago

Honestly it is scary hearing all of these horror stories. I brought mines back in may 2023. I have only had one problem which is the interior lights. But hearing about all of these other problems that you guys are complaining about i really hope mines just stay with no lights. But as the months progress more lights began to come on.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Lamare Perry

I don’t know if you’ve seen, but some of the problems seem to be possibly related to a marginal battery (from sitting due to delivery delays). Good luck…????
(Yeah, I’ll make jokes here and there but I don’t want to see someone get stuck with a lemon)

Last edited 6 months ago by Jason Smith
Schrödinger's Catbox
Schrödinger's Catbox
6 months ago

Why the fuss? Electrical mayhem is eventually a feature in all Alfa Romeo cars.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
6 months ago

And stories like this reinforces my view that the FCA-PSA merger brought nothing meaningful to the table for the Chrysler side of things. The old Chrysler could and did do a better job making small/smaller cars.

The PT Cruiser didn’t have problems like this.

And the Neon was great once they installed an MLS head gasket that engineers originally wanted that Bob Eaton (the guy who sold Chrysler out to Daimler) vetoed to save a few pennies.

Phuzz
Phuzz
6 months ago

“The PT Cruiser didn’t have problems like this.”

Damn, now that’s a diss 🙂

Aaron C
Aaron C
6 months ago

There is nothing more unnerving in a new car than recurrent electrical gremlins that occur while driving. Back in 2014 I bought a new Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. Had never paid that much for a vehicle, and I absolutely adored it. That is, until it started shutting itself off WHILE I WAS DRIVING. About a week after purchasing it (with about 150 miles on it), I wanted to take it out at night to see the interior lighting. Got in, started it up, made it to the local highway service road when all of a sudden it popped out of gear, the dashboard lit up, and then the thing completely turned off. No light, no nothing. Dead on the road. Couldn’t even turn the blinkers on. After that, it was a fun couple of months of the local dealership telling me it was fixed, me getting it back, and something else electrical happening. In the first two months, the dealer put more miles on the vehicle testing it than my family did. It was my wife’s daily driver and she was driving my young son around in it. The last straw was when I got a phone call from her and the thing had died in the middle of a major intersection and wouldn’t start again. I asked Chrysler to buy it back, but the regional service manager was a total douche and told my local dealer they would just keep fixing it until it was fixed, that it was a “simple warranty issue.” Yeah, right. That’s when I got a lawyer involved. Within a couple weeks, Chrysler bought it back and refunded all my payments. We bought a Honda CR-V to replace it. It wasn’t nearly as awesome to drive, but it didn’t give us one issue in the four years we had it.

Of course, the forums were full of people saying, “people only come here to complain,” but there were a couple other people who had the same issue I had and who eventually got theirs bought back as well. Apparently the 2014 model year had some kind of grounding issue with a batch of GC’s leaving the factory.

Last edited 6 months ago by Aaron C
Eslader
Eslader
6 months ago

Holy shit! A Dodge built by Fiat is unreliable!? Who could possibly have seen that coming?

Joel
Joel
6 months ago

It’s good to see a story like this, because all too often automotive journalists seem to think they shouldn’t write anything about a new product except a review. I have a 2020 Mercedes GLC, and was reading about the all-new 2023 model on one of the forums because I was considering an upgrade. Then I started noticing post after post about brand new vehicles not starting and all kinds of other problems. Mercedes then released a service bulletin (involving the “powertrain control module”) covering something like 10,000 vehicles (probably the entire production run for the new model up to that point) to try to address the issues (with mixed success). But as I read all of the posts, I kept wondering how the news received no media attention. First all-new GLC in seven years. Best-selling model for the brand. And the launch has pretty much been a disaster. But no coverage of it by anyone in the automotive press?

Last edited 6 months ago by Joel
Ben
Ben
6 months ago

they’re typically self-defensive circlejerks of unhealthily obsessed individuals vigorously edging over options sheets until some registered flex offender comes bearing the rarest example of all, at which point the biscuit, as Fred Durst would say, gets limp.

I had a hell of a time parsing this, but it was worth it! 🙂

Jorge
Jorge
6 months ago

We bought ours in June and have not had any issues with it. I did take it in to do the software update at no charge. Looks good for a small SUV.

Last edited 6 months ago by Jorge
Drad
Drad
6 months ago

If this were an Alfa you’d be expecting it! Because an Alfa Romeo buyer knows what they are getting! But if you are looking for a mid-size SUV and you walk on to a Dodge forecourt, because after all your dads ’93 Ram is still going strong and that Journey your mum used to drive seemed like an OK car, you’d think you were buying a nice looking great driving mid sized SUV. Not an Alfa Romeo!

Harmon20
Harmon20
6 months ago

Wow, that second paragraph certainly is something.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
6 months ago

At this point Stellantis should really just start selling the French cars over here. At least they’re interesting.

Drad
Drad
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

I came here to write exactly this. You could basically rebadge the Opels as Dodges (design language seems to fit) and the Peugeots as Chryslers (mild up market) and you have a full line up of small cross overs for both brands! Also the new Peugeots are so nice – our friends have a Peugeot 5008 SUV, its a very nice car, especially considering where Peugeot was 7 or 8 years ago.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
6 months ago
Reply to  Drad

Agreed. Visited a friend last year in Portugal. French cars were everywhere, lots of Peugeots. My friend had a 3008 crossover, and it was really nice. He’s loved having it. Bring them over as Chryslers. I’d love a 508 PHEV wagon please!

Dan1101
Dan1101
6 months ago

The story from the person saying this was the first vehicle they purchased on their own is pretty sad. Hopefully their next vehicle will be something fun and comfortable and reliable.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
6 months ago

Thanks for the VWVortex age reminder. I’ve been on that forum since 2001(!!!!!) according to their metrics

Aaron C
Aaron C
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick Fortes

I had to go and log in – 1999 here! I remember the days of the cracked VR6 coil packs and falling windows from broken window regulators. Fun times!

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
6 months ago

FYI they’ve found this article and they aren’t particularly happy about it…
https://www.hornetowners.com/threads/media-found-the-forum-and-it-aint-pretty.476/

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
6 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Hah!

Black Peter
Black Peter
6 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

Wow.. That’s meta.. and denial. Metanial?

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
6 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Ooh, Thomas hit some nerves over there.

“It’s most certainly not real journalism. Instead, it’s a new and toxic category called “influencers.” Any MoeJoe with a computer can create a site and collect followers. The more followers, the more he earns from ads posted on the site.”

He made that one as mad as a Hornet… owner.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
6 months ago

Yeah, Thomas definitely has them feeling ways about things…

Vee
Vee
6 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Instead, it’s a new and toxic category called “influencers.”

Yeah, no, I don’t think anybody here is a twenty something white woman posting heavily edited pictures to Instagram so they can get paid when you buy the possibly toxic “herbal remedy tea” they’re sponsored by and not so subtly keep in every single shot no matter how ridiculous.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Vee

There was Torch’s lead fiasco and Dave’s dubious history with used engine oil, I wouldn’t exactly use “non-toxic” to describe them. That being said, the “author” of this gem intentionally bought an Alfa Romeo rebadged into a Dodge; their judgement is suspect at best…

Last edited 6 months ago by Jason Smith
Defenestrator
Defenestrator
6 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

I can’t blame them for the rebadging. If it’s the same car, I’d rather have one called a Hornet than a Toenail.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Defenestrator

I can’t fault that logic…

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