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Dodge is known for its legendary muscle cars, but the American automaker’s latest lineup is sparse. However, the brand recently introduced an all-new model, the 2023 Dodge Hornet. It marks the company’s first foray into the compact SUV segment. After driving it, Edmunds’ testers had one question that we’re all pondering. 

Here’s what driving the 2023 Dodge Hornet is like, according to these testers

Edmunds’ reviewers have plenty of praise for the 2023 Dodge Hornet. It starts at about $30,000 — the cheapest new Dodge. However, that’s a hefty price tag compared to most other compact SUVs. And a fully loaded Hornet with the most powerful engine option costs upward of $44,500.

Overall, though, it’s a solid small SUV that performs well in most areas consumers value. The seats are comfortable and spacious, and taller people fit fine in either row. Dodge also packed the Hornet with attractive tech features, including Stellantis’ UConnect 5 infotainment system, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display.

Additionally, the SUV boasts advanced driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control. It also has a relatively decent cargo capacity: 27 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.7 cubic feet with the second row folded down. 

Will American consumers want what the 2023 Dodge Hornet offers?

The Dodge Hornet’s main draw sits under the hood. There are two powertrain options, starting with a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s the R/T, starting at about $40,000 and packing a 1.3-liter four-cylinder PHEV powertrain. It harnesses 288 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, and its 15.5-kWh battery gets about 30 miles in electric-only mode.

Overall, both powertrains are notably potent for a compact SUV. The standard model can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 6.5 seconds, and the PHEV can do it in 5.6 seconds. Those are among the best acceleration numbers in the segment.

And that leads to Edmunds’ main lingering question about the Hornet:

“Dodge delivered the most powerful compact SUV money can buy,” the reviewer says. “Whether or not that’s a product anyone wants remains to be seen.”

That’s a fair point because most consumers want a daily driver, not the fastest option in the segment. So the Hornet’s performance capabilities are unnecessary for the average driver.

The new SUV’s success or failure will send a message to other automakers

If car shoppers don’t see the value of a high-performance compact SUV, the 2023 Dodge Hornet’s failure probably wouldn’t make a considerable impact industrywide. Most automakers don’t make compact SUVs with speed in mind, so they won’t have to change course. 

However, if the Hornet succeeds, it could make a significant mark in the industry, depending on how it sells compared to rivals. If Dodge’s small SUV steals market share, other carmakers would take notice and consider adding more potent powertrain options.


The Hornet is Not The Entry-Level Dodge Promised