2023 Dodge Hornet compact SUV to offer gas, hybrid options: Pictures

  • Dodge has announced its latest release, a five-seat, compact, hybrid SUV.
  • The 2023 Dodge Hornet will offer customers a smaller alternative to Dodge’s current lineup of larger vehicles like the Durango SUV.
  • Company representatives say they hope the Hornet will bring new buyers to the Dodge brand.

DETROIT – The 2023 Dodge Hornet won’t have a Hellcat under the hood, but CEO Tim Kuniskis says the Hornet will carve out its own power niche in an area with a lot of growth potential.

The five-seat Hornet will put Dodge, a brand quick to tout its muscle car credentials, into a new playing field, in the compact SUV segment, with a first for the brand, a plug-in hybrid electric variants.

Kuniskis called compact SUVs the hottest segment in the auto industry.

“This thing is exploding so we really want to be in this segment,” Kuniskis told reporters last week at Stellantis’ US headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“It’s like … the perfect little politically correct segment for us to come in, (rail) it up and disrupt that segment. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going in there with something to buy that no one else in that segment has.”

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The Hornet, unveiled Tuesday as Dodge’s “gateway” vehicle in three days of announcements for the brand, is expected to provide an entry point for new customers by adding a small SUV to the Dodge lineup, consisting of the larger Durango SUV and the Charger and Challenger muscle cars.

The unveiling is labeled “future muscle.” The Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, previously reported that an electric Dodge concept vehicle is expected to be unveiled this week.

The Hornet, which shares architecture with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, will be built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano D’Arco in Naples, Italy.

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Its name offers a connection to its automotive past, dating back to the Hudson Hornets of the 1950s – think Doc Hudson in the movie, “Cars.” The plug-in Hornet R/T – there’s also a gas-only GT – will propel the brand into an electrified future.

The R/T, according to the company, promises 285-plus horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque with more than 30 miles of electric range, thanks to a 15.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The 1.3-liter, four-cylinder turbo PHEV is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.