Thursday, December 8

Dodge Hornet compact SUV to offer gas, hybrid options

The 2023 Dodge Hornet doesn’t have a Hellcat under the hood, but Tim Kuniskis, the brand’s CEO, said the Hornet will carve out its own power niche in a place with lots of growth potential.

The five-seat Hornet will put Dodge, a brand that’s quick to tout its muscle car credentials, on a new playing field, in the compact SUV segment, with a first for the brand, a plug-in hybrid electric variant.

Kuniskis called compact SUVs the hottest segment in the auto industry.

“This is a million-unit segment that for the next five years is going to grow almost 50%. This thing is exploding so we really, really want to be in this segment,” Kuniskis told reporters last week at Stellantis’ U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills. “This seemed like … the perfect little politically correct segment for us to go in, (rile) it up and disrupt that segment. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to go in there with something that nobody else is shopping for in that segment.”

Dodge unveils the Hornet GT, a compact SUV at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 16, 2022.

The Hornet, which was being unveiled Tuesday as Dodge’s “gateway” vehicle during three days of announcements for the brand, is expected to provide an entry point for new customers by adding a small SUV to the Dodge lineup, currently composed of the larger Durango SUV and the Charger and Challenger muscle cars.

The unveiling is labeled “future muscle.” The Free Press has previously reported that an electric Dodge concept vehicle is expected to be shown this week.

The Hornet, which shares an architecture with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, will be built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano D’Arco in Naples, Italy.

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A unique new exterior Hornet badge on the fender celebrates the revival of the Hornet — a name first used on the famed Hudson Hornet in the 1940s and again in 2006 as a popular Dodge concept vehicle — and joins the current iconic Dodge badging lineup, such as Scat Pack, Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye.

Its name offers a connection to the automotive past, dating to the Hudson Hornets of the 1950s — think Doc Hudson in the movie, “Cars.” The plug-in Hornet R/T — there’s also a gas-only GT — will push the brand toward the electrified future.

The R/T, according to the company, promises 285-plus horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque with more than 30 miles of electric range, thanks to a 15.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The 1.3-liter, four-cylinder turbo PHEV is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

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