First Look Review: The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T is Fast Pace & Eco Trace

  • Dodge's first electrified model now available at U.S. dealerships
  • Sports a 288 hp plug-in hybrid system and goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds
  • Delivers an EV mode range of 33 miles (EPA-est.)
  • Priced from USD 41,400 (excl. USD 1,595 destination charge)

The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T started arriving at U.S. dealerships in Summer 2023, but availability took a while to normalize. Recently, I saw the new plug-in hybrid SUV on display in the Hot Tamale color at the Buffalo Auto Show, and took the opportunity to explore its design and features in detail. Here are my impressions of the first electrified Dodge:

Design

An athletic exterior and the various signature Dodge elements make the Hornet R/T quite appealing for what’s basically a compact SUV. I find the Dodge DNA very much present all around, like with the muscular hood, which integrates heat extractors, and the “mail slot”-style grille at the front; the flared wheel arches and lines on the sides; and the full-width tail lamp at the rear.

That said, I think the sleek and curvy greenhouse has Alfa Romeo written all over it, though I’ll admit that it adds a touch of elegance, helping it look somewhat like an entry-lux model, which it actually is (Alfa Romeo Tonale). My favorite part of the exterior is the slim, full-width tail lamp, which features a lighted red signature and a backlit Dodge rhombus in the center.

The Hornet R/T doesn’t have much to differentiate itself from the gas-powered Hornet. The charging port located on the driver’s side rear fender is an immediate giveaway, but there are some more differences I found looking at it in person. It features Abyss-finish wheel arch moldings, door trim, and fascia appliques, which, in my opinion, enhance the styling of its lower body.

2024 Dodge Hornet RT side profile
My favorite part of the exterior is the greenhouse, which actually is an Alfa Romeo design.

Expecting higher quality than U.S.-built Dodge models, I inspected the Italian-made Hornet R/T. I looked at different parts of the body to check for panel gaps and examine the paint thoroughly for consistency. I found no issues with the build, and the car gave off an exciting personality in this red color.

Interior

As a six-footer, stepping into the Dodge Hornet R/T and hopping onto its driver’s seat felt simple. The sitting position was comfortable. The legroom was adequate, and so was the headroom. The compact steering was easy to access and its grip felt quite sporty.

I tinkered with the 12.3-inch instrument cluster and found it offers a ‘Normal’ layout with full-sized dials, an ‘Evolved’ layout with compact dials, and a ‘Focused’ layout that doesn’t show dials. I could easily see the distance remaining until the (11.2-gallon gas tank) went empty and the (15.5 kWh) battery pack ran out of juice.

The Hornet R/T has a 10.25-inch UConnect 5 touchscreen infotainment system that offers wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, TomTom satellite navigation, and more. I operated the center switches to see if they gave tactile feedback, and I felt that they could be improved in future iterations.

Moving to the rear seats, I felt the space was limited. The legroom behind the driver’s seat, as per my adjustment, was cramped. I felt the headroom was also tight and that these seats were designed mainly for kids or shorter adults. Interestingly, under-thigh support is improved by the extended cushions designed into the seats, but this does little to improve the overall experience at the back for a tall adult like me.

Driving impressions

Where the Dodge Hornet R/T truly shines and takes the crown position in the small league of plug-in hybrid compact SUVs is the way it performs and drives. Gauging from the drive reports of multiple credible publications, I understand that its 263 hp powertrain is quite punchy for both urban commutes and high-speed highway driving.

The Hornet R/T handles well around the corners, exhibiting little body roll, and quickly comes to a halt when needed. The PowerShot boost mode temporarily increases the power to 288 hp, making the drive even more fun, although it doesn’t make a day and night difference such that the driver feels as if they switched from a regular Dodge into a Dodge Hellcat. In a nutshell, the Hornet R/T is remarkably fun to drive for a compact SUV, especially such a heavy one with a plug-in hybrid system.

When the driver simply wants to relax, the Hornet R/T offers a smooth drive with the engine shut off, and that’s possible at up to 85 mph. Even when the driver has switched on the hybrid mode, the engine doesn’t intrude much. The Hornet R/T’s 33 miles (EPA-est.) of EV mode range and 77 MPGe (EPA-est.) of combined fuel economy seem impressive for the superb performance and excellent driving dynamics it offers.

Price

The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T retails at USD 41,400 in the standard trim and USD 46,400 in the R/T Plus trim. A USD 1,595 destination charge is applicable on both trims.

TopElectricSUV says

The Dodge Hornet R/T offers a distinctive style, impressive performance and driving dynamics, and a premium interior. It’s not the most spacious model in its class, but it’s still the most practical Dodge to have been launched in recent years. Of course, the best combination of a plug-in hybrid compact SUV and the Dodge DNA does come at a premium, but I think it’s justified.

2024 Dodge Hornet R/T FAQs

What is the 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T release date?

The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T is now available at U.S. dealerships.

What is the 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T price?

The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T’s prices start at USD 41,400 (excl. USD 1,595 destination charge).

Which models are 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T rivals?