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Dodge is launching its very first compact utility vehicle (CUV), the Hornet. The brand is calling the new vehicle a “gateway to Dodge muscle” and claiming the hurricane-powered Hornet is the fastest CUV under $30k. One variation of the Hornet boasts an extra helping of muscle: the Hornet GLH–or the Hornet “Goes Like Hell.”

The original Dodge GLH was a Shelby-tuned Omni

2023 Dodge Hornet GLH Concept badge | Stellantis

The Hornet is far from the first entry-level Dodge. From 1978 through 1990, Dodge offered a budget-friendly hatchback called the Dodge Omni. It may have been the brand’s first FWD, but it wasn’t immune to a “brotherhood of muscle” trim level.

It was actually Carroll Shelby, of all people, who tuned the most aggressive Omni trim level. Shelby Automobiles designed a high-output version of the Omni’s stock I4 for the 1984 model year. The new engine made 110 horsepower–a respectable number for the compact car. The Omni GLH also enjoyed wider tires, upgraded brakes, and stiffer suspension.

Unable to leave well-enough alone, Shelby added a turbocharged, inter-cooled engine option for the 1985 and 1986 model years. This powerplant made 146 horsepower. The turbocharged versions were badged as the GLH-T.

While Shelby designed the Omni GLH, Dodge built them. When the brand canceled the project in 1986, Carroll Shelby actually bought the final 500 GLH-T cars to further modify at Shelby Automobiles. These very special Omni GLH-T cars received further engine upgrades, tuned Koni struts and shocks, and even larger tires on Shelby rims. They wore silver pinstripes and a special Dodge Omni GLHS (Goes Like Hell S’more) badges. They were officially sold as Shelby-modifed automobiles, not Dodges.

What is the Dodge Hornet GLH?

Dodge’s new Hornet GLH stands for the Hornet “Goes Like Hell” and it is a throwback to the Carroll Shelby special-edition Dodge Omni. Obviously, this Hornet is not designed by the late Carroll Shelby, but is a product of Dodge’s Direct Connection aftermarket parts division.

The Dodge Hornet GLH concept muscle CUV driving down a rural road at sunset.
2023 Dodge Hornet GT GLH Concept | Stellantis

When Stellantis set out to build a Hornet GLH, it targeted the power-to-weight ratio of the original Omni GLH–and it exceeded this goal with Direct Connection performance upgrades. The Hornet GLH also features unrestricted dual exhaust.

Dodge upgraded the handling of the Hornet GLH with 20-inch rims and then lowered the suspension an inch. The Hornet GLH is also defined by blacked-out trim and special GLH graphics. This Horent showcases what Dodge Direct Connection parts customers can order through the Dodge Power Brokers dealer network.

How fast is the Dodge Hornet?

With Dodge claiming its Hornet compact utility vehicle is the “gateway” to muscle, fans are wondering just how fast it is. The base model of the Hornet is the internal-combustion Hornet GT which can reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The next trim level is the Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid. With its 25-horsepower electric boost, it can reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

Black Dodge Hornet compact suv concept vehicle parked on the road, a gray sky visible in the background.
2023 Dodge Hornet GT GLH Concept | Stellantis

The Dodge Hornet GLH is a tune of the Hornet GT. Dodge has yet to release performance numbers for this special edition. Will it beat the Hornet R/T to 60 mph? We’ll just have to wait and find out.

This turbocharged I4 CUV is very much in the spirit of the Omni hatchback. So while even the Hornet GLH probably won’t be able to hang with the Hellcat’s top-speed, it is certainly true to its GLH heritage. And maybe, the folks at Dodge SRT will cook up a special GLH S’more edition with even more performance.

Next, find out how the Dodge Hornet got its name or watch the official reveal of the CUV in the video below:


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