This is a big challenge for Dodge, as the Hornet is the Dodge's first new vehicle in the past ten years. There are only two versions in the 2023 Dodge Hornet, GT, and GT Plus. Both trims come with standard all-wheel drive. The Plug-In R/T. Each is available with the Plus equipment group. The Plug-in Hybrid R/T version is planned for the 2024 model year and is expected to have more than 30 miles of electric-only range. I think that's a decent start for these days.
So, the 2023 Dodge Hornet SUV joins a lineup that will lose two of its three players at the end of this year, namely the Charger and the Challenger (the other being the Durango). It is true that a plug-in hybrid model is expected in 2024, but I think the arrival of a new vehicle this year is good for Dodge.
This small SUV steps into the ring against worthy competitors like the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-50, and the Volkswagen Tiguan. If it were a character in a movie, the Hornet would undoubtedly be the underdog that surprises everyone with its bold personality and features. Priced at $32,330 for the GT trim and $37,330 for the GT Plus, this small SUV invites you to savor the journey while really attracting the spotlight from its rivals.
I mentioned that the Dodge Hornet has Italian roots. Well, it's because this new SUV shares its foundations with another newcomer to the Stellantis group, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The Hornet is built in the same Italian plant as the Tonale.
Engine and Power
The GT version is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It's tuned to deliver 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
This engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, while as noted above, all-wheel drive comes standard. According to Dodge, a Hornet GT does the 0-60 mph sprint in just 6.5 seconds.
The EPA estimates that the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT gets an average of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. This is about average for a compact SUV.
What is obvious is the power offered. In the segment, it puts this model above the fray. It's like Dodge, which will appeal to fans of the brand, it goes without saying.
Give credit to Dodge for the design of the 2023 Hornet.
This small SUV manages to distance itself from its corporate twin, the Alfa Romeo Tonale, thanks to a design language that suits it well.
The entire front of the vehicle reminds me of a mini Charger, while the large LED taillight, which takes the shape of a racetrack, is reminiscent of the Durango. This happens in the automotive industry. A week before the 2023 Hornet, I was test driving and reviewing the Hyundai Ioniq 6, which design-wise looked similar to Porsche 911. In any case, Dodge succeeded with Hornet's design.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet has a sleek and sporty profile that commands attention. It's got aerodynamic curves and sculpted bodywork that create an athletic silhouette, hinting at the exhilarating performance that awaits you. The headlights are sleek and integrated with LED daytime running lights, which not only enhance visibility but also add a touch of sophistication to the Hornet's captivating design.
The Hornet comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, but you can upgrade to 18- or 20-inch wheels for a more aggressive look. You can also choose from a variety of exterior colors, including Blue Steele, Acapulco Gold, Blu Bayou, Gray Cray, Hot Tamale, Q Ball, and 8 Ball.
Overall, the 2023 Dodge Hornet has a stylish and eye-catching exterior that will turn heads wherever you go. It's the perfect car for people who want a vehicle that looks as good as it performs.
The Hornet's cabin sports a sporty design, with well-padded seats on the side walls, which can be upholstered in fabric and leatherette, black or red leather or Alcantara. Climate controls are easy to use, there's a large center console storage compartment with an available wireless charging area, while every Hornet is equipped with 12.3-inch digital driver instrumentation and a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen. Stellantis' Uconnect 5 interface is on board, which works well despite having smaller on-screen button areas compared to the older Uconnect 4 system.
The space in front is adequate, but the center console widens by connecting to the dashboard and our knee is constantly pressed on it.
The rear seats are adequate, especially for two passengers, although the backrests are not adjustable in inclination. Also, the curve of the rear door window bezels is unnecessarily wide, and people opening those doors unsuspectingly might bump their noses into them.
The Hornet GT's cargo area is average for the subcompact segment, while its cargo floor can be lowered to increase its volume — something, apparently, you can't do in the Hornet R/T due to the presence of the battery pack. Cargo volume is 765 liters with the rear seats up, and 1,549 liters with the backs folded down.
Depending on your trim, other options are also available, including the cold weather package available on the base 2023 Dodge Hornet GT, which is however standard on the GT Plus version, adding heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a remote starter.
Available on GT and GT Plus, the Tech Package bundles electronic aids like Highway Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter, and Driver Drowsiness Detection, in addition to front parking, a peripheral view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assistance, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
In the suburbs of Charlotte, I was quickly pleased by the solidity of the 2023 Hornet GT's chassis and its reasonable. The Hornet has no trouble cornering quickly. I always felt it firmly anchored to the ground and ready to pounce.
Of note, the Hornet is hard to categorize, as it's smaller than most compact SUVs, but a little bigger than subcompact SUVs.
The Hornet GT is a fun and engaging car to drive. It has a decent amount of power and torque, and it handles well. The steering is precise and the suspension is well-tuned, making the Hornet GT enjoyable to drive on both winding roads and highways.
Some reviewers may have noted that the Hornet GT can be a bit harsh on rough roads. The ride is firm, and the suspension can transmit some road noise into the cabin, but I didn't experience much roughness.
Overall, the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT is a good choice for people who are looking for a fun and sporty compact SUV. It has plenty of power and handling, but it can be a bit harsh on rough roads. But this is the first year. I would recommend test driving it, maybe rent it and if you like it, then purchase it if it suits your needs.
What do you think of this vehicle?
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.