2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: A Real-World American SUV Comparison
The compact SUV segment is filled with plenty of great choices. Some of the most popular include the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue. However, if you would rather have an American brand, the Ford Escape and Dodge Hornet could fit the bill. I recently drove the 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line and Dodge Hornet GT Plus and found a few similarities and differences. Here is a real-world comparison between them.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: Ride quality
One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a compact SUV is ride quality. The Ford Escape has a smoother ride than the Dodge Hornet. The Escape ST-Line soaked up road imperfections easily, and I didn’t detect any rattling or bumpiness, no matter how rocky the road got. Yes, I even tested it on a dirt path to make sure.
The Dodge Hornet GT Plus, on the other hand, felt smooth when cruising at highway speeds, but its suspension felt choppy over uneven roads and a little stiff when driving over road imperfections. I attribute its ride quality partly to its Koni FSD shocks, which are intended for sportier driving. On that note, the Hornet handled tight corners well for an SUV.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: Power and fuel efficiency
Both of the SUVs I tested had similar turbocharged 2.0-liter powertrains. The Dodge Hornet GT Plus produces 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the Escape ST-Line makes 250 and 280, respectively. Honestly, it’s hard to find a difference between the two in terms of power, but the Escape’s engine felt smoother when driving it through the RPM range.
They are both similarly fuel-efficient as well. The EPA says the Hornet can get up to 21 mpg in the city, and 29 mpg on the highway. The Escape bests those numbers by two mpg, respectively. However, in my real-world testing, both SUVs achieved around 25 mpg on average.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: Interior space
Both of these SUVs have plenty of room for five and are spacious inside. The rear seat in the Ford Escape feels more accommodating and comfortable, though. I won’t bore you with dimensions for each car, especially since they’re fairly even across the board. That said, I preferred the Escape’s overall interior comfort over the Hornet.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: Tech features
The similarities never end with these two. The Ford Escape ST-Line comes with all of the tech features you could want, including a large 13.2-inch infotainment system, wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, and a Bang and Olufsen premium audio system. There are also plenty of USB ports for charging and heated seats/steering wheel to warm you up on colder days.
The Dodge Hornet GT Plus has similar features, including a bevy of USB ports, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, and a Harmon Kardon premium audio system. For daily use, I prefer the Hornet’s tech features because the HVAC controls were easier to use, as was the infotainment system.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line vs. Dodge Hornet GT Plus: Which small SUV should you choose?
Ultimately, the 2023 Ford Escape has a softness and elegance to it that you won’t find in the Dodge Hornet. After all, the Hornet comes from the same brand that produces the rough-and-ready Challenger SRT and such, so it’s no surprise the Hornet has a rougher edge to it.
That said, it’s the buyer’s choice when choosing between them. But if you’re looking for American alternatives in the sea of small SUVs, these two picks won’t steer you wrong.