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The compact SUV market is crowded with plenty of stalwarts like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Hyundai Kona, and Toyota RAV4. However, the crowd is getting thicker with newer SUV entrants like the Dodge Hornet. The Hornet provides buyers with the same type of practicality and capability as the others in the crowd but with a distinctive flair. 

I’m driving the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT Plus this week, and so far, I have found a few unique features that are worth pointing out. Check out what makes the Hornet different from the rest.

1. The 2023 Dodge Hornet SUV doesn’t have sporty exhaust tips

A rear view of the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT SUV
2023 Dodge Hornet GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Taking a look around the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT Plus, I noticed that there aren’t any exhaust tips sticking out of the rear bumper. Instead, the exhaust exits toward the ground right before it hits the bumper area. 

I can say that the design makes the rear bumper look cleaner, and it’s a unique look, but the Hornet would look better with dual tips. Especially considering it’s meant to be a sporty little SUV.

2. “Beep, beep, beep” – The Hornet has a traffic cam alert

The front end on the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT
2023 Dodge Hornet GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

When driving the Dodge Hornet through the streets of Denver, Colo., I heard a beeping noise as I passed certain intersections. “What the heck is that?” I wondered. It turns out that the Hornet can alert you of any traffic cameras posted at intersections. It’s part of the Technology package and coincides with the traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed technologies. 

The Hornet also has other driver-assist features like active driving assist and lane assist to keep the car in line and driving straight when cruising.

3. The infotainment system menus are busy but easy to navigate

The 10.25-inch infotainment system in the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT
2023 Dodge Hornet GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Dodge Hornet GT Plus has a 10.25-inch infotainment screen that runs the latest Uconnect5 software. There are plenty of menus to navigate, and they all look very busy, but the system is intuitive when you get used to it. There are seat temperature and climate controls tied to the touchscreen, but there are also hard buttons to make toggling them easier. I also like that the screen sits low in the dash, making it easy to see out of the windshield.

4. The Dodge Hornet GT rides on Koni shocks

My Dodge Hornet GT tester is outfitted with Koni FSD shock absorbers, which provide a sporty ride and sharp handling characteristics. Many SUV buyers may not pay much mind to these, but driving enthusiasts may care. Especially considering other rivals in the segment don’t offer these premium shock absorbers.

5. The Hornet SUV’s turbocharged engine is very potent

The turbocharged engine in the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT
2023 Dodge Hornet GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Since the Dodge Hornet is performance-oriented, I have to point out its engine. The GT Plus is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The force-fed power gets sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The engine and transmission work together well, and the Hornet gets off the line quickly. My gripe, though, is that the transmission seems slow to shift when driving spiritedly. The slower shift dampens some of the excitement, but using the car’s manual mode helps a little. That said, I think the power fits the car’s size and does well to propel it down the road with ease.

The 2023 Dodge Hornet is a unique SUV that deserves a look

The compact SUV segment is hot right now, especially with the stalwarts that have hung around for the past few decades. However, the 2023 Dodge Hornet adds some much-needed flare to the category with its unique features. If you’re shopping for a compact SUV, the Hornet is worth a look, as it could possibly end up on your shortlist with everything it has to offer.