The New Dodge Hornet Leaves Something to Be Desired

Dodge has big plans for the next few years; it’s canceling the beloved Charger and Challenger, building EVs, and launching its new Hornet crossover SUV. The Hornet is the marque’s first foray into the crossover SUV segment, and Dodge is bringing some of its performance mindset with it. However, even with higher horsepower and more performance credentials than the competition, the new Hornet still leaves something to be desired in the styling department. 

Is Dodge bringing back the Hornet? 

Dodge is bringing back the Hornet badge. However, this time it rides on a crossover SUV. While old-school Mopar fans might cringe at that thought, it’s an appropriate moniker for a Dodge treading unfamiliar terrain like the crossover market. Also, at a glance, the Hornet looks like a solid alternative to the competition. 

The new Dodge Hornet is Dodge's crossover offering for a new generation, but its styling is suspect.
Dodge Hornet GT | Stellantis

For instance, the Hornet offers a standard all-wheel drive (AWD) system in the GT trim, unlike a comparable Ford Escape. Even better, the MotorTrend says that an AWD-equipped GT will hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, something you’re not going to find in its similarly-priced competition. Finally, the R/T model promises over 285 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque; that’s Dodge with an R/T badge promising to outrun every other crossover in its segment. 

What’s wrong with it?

While the Hornet sounds like a performance-oriented alternative to competitors and signifies a focal shift for Dodge, it has a glaring issue. First, MotorTrend agrees that the front fascia design, which seems to be borrowing its styling from the Durango and Charger, doesn’t look quite right at its scale. It’s decorated with a squinty-front lighting setup and a Charger-esque hood, which is more handsome in theory than in execution. While the rear-end styling is arguably more attractive, the crossover is a far cry from the Chargers, Challengers, and Durangos of today. 

The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT is a Dodge crossover with underwhelming front-end styling.
Dodge Hornet GT | Stellantis

Part of the reason behind the stying departure is the vehicle that the Dodge Hornet is based on. The shared architecture makes sense, given Dodge’s parent company, Stellantis, and its subsidiaries like Fiat and Peugeot.  

What is the Dodge Hornet based on?

The Dodge Hornet is based on the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. According to MotorTrend, the Hornet offers the same powerplants, the same body, and comes out of the same factory in Italy as the Tonale. However, the Alfa Romeo SUV’s styling is arguably better looking. It wears a similar squint, but instead, it features familiar features like Alfa Romeo’s triangular grille and wheels.   

The Dodge Hornet is a crossover with performance offerings, if odd styling.
The new Dodge Hornet GT’s badge | Stellantis

How much will the Dodge Hornet cost?

Both the Dodge Hornet and the Alfa Romeo Tonale will cost more than cheap Japanese and American competitors. TrueCar says the new Hornet will have a starting cost of $31,590. That’s quite a bit more than the Mazda CX-30’s starting price of $23,775. Still, the Hornet promises to deliver higher performance than its competitors.

Time will tell if the market wants a crossover with performance credentials, or if the masses will want cheaper options. Scroll down to the following article to read more about new Dodge vehicles!


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