2023 Dodge Hornet plug-in hybrid: Everything we know [Update]

Update: ‘2023 Dodge Hornet Release Date’ section updated.

Dodge Hornet, a new compact SUV, will join the Dodge line-up in fall 2022, Motor1 reported in August 2021. According to a report that soon followed on MoparInsiders, the 2023 Dodge Hornet will be a part of a new two-year plan called “Never Lift.” Reviving the name of the brand’s boxy small SUV concept from the 2006 Geneva Motor Show, the new addition will be available with plug-in hybrid tech.

Powertrain

Last year, Autopareri forum moderator __P had posted a picture showing what could be an internal document confirming a Dodge “C-UV” called Hornet in the pipeline. This was the first real indication of the new performance SUV.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV powertrain
The Dodge Hornet will be a C-segment SUV riding on the same platform as the Jeep Compass and the upcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale – Small-Wide 4×4, with a high-spec plug-in hybrid powertrain. Image: Stellantis/Alfa Romeo

MoparInsiders had said that the Hornet would be the first Dodge PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle). As Dodge is pursuing the image of a performance brand, it should adopt the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV’s ‘Q4’ system, which comes with a bigger, 15.5 kWh battery pack instead of the Compass 4xe’s 11.4 kWh battery pack. For reference, the Tonale PHEV is an all-wheel drive model with a 272 hp powertrain and a 6-speed automatic torque converter. The U.S.-spec Tonale PHEV’s expected pure electric range is 30+ miles, which should be true of the 2023 Dodge Hornet.

Drive Modes

The 2023 Dodge Hornet may come with selectable driving modes, as does the Tonale. The Alfa SUV comes with three modes that alter the steering, braking, suspension, and powertrain characteristics. The modes are Dual Power PHEV/Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. The Dual Power mode maximizes performance by extracting peak power from the engine and the electric motor. The Natural mode is an auto mode that balances the use of the engine and the electric motor based on driver input and driving conditions, balancing performance and efficiency. And lastly, the Advanced Efficiency mode propels the Tonale using pure electric energy for as long as there’s enough charge in the 15.5 kWh battery.

FSDs and DNA Selector

The 2023 Dodge Hornet is also expected to benefit from the suspension system used on the Tonale. The SUV comes with fully independent McPherson struts with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. The dual valve electronically controlled damping enhances handling around corners without compromising ride quality over low-speed bumpy roads. Moreover, the Hornet may come with a DNA Selector present on the Tonale. With the selector, drivers can choose between ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ suspension modes. The former makes the ride quality absorbent and comfortable in Advanced Efficiency and Normal drive modes. The latter stiffens the suspension for tight body control over corners and sporty handling.

Dodge CEO Timothy Kuniskis had told MotorTrend in November 2021 that a Dodge PHEV would debut soon and enter production by the end of 2022. Kuniskis didn’t reveal the name or segment of the electrified Dodge, but it’s safe to assume that he was talking about the Hornet.

Design

Spy media of the 2023 Dodge Hornet has revealed that it will be nothing like the original 2006 concept. It’s simply a reworked Alfa Romeo Tonale with Dodge badges. Unlike the concept, the production Hornet is a much bigger model with plenty of curves and creases, sleek lights, and raked D-pillars that convey its sporty character, but the bad news is that it’s not a Dodge design.

2023 Dodge Hornet Hybrid SUV render
TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the 2023 Dodge Hornet captures the details revealed by the first spy shots. We note a new grille, hood scoop, wheels, bumper, and a revised light cluster compared to the Tonale.

Front

Dodge seems to have reworked the headlamp and added hood scoops. Carscoops revealed the first spy shots of the Hornet on May 9, 2022, as the test mules were seen in Michigan. It sports different LED headlamp clusters that would meet U.S. regulations. The most notable difference between the two is the grille and the wheel-size. The spy shots reveal simple-looking upper and lower air-intakes.

Facebook user Walter Vayr/Gabetz Spy Unit posted new spy shots of the 2023 Dodge Hornet test mule. This time around, the vehicle was seen testing in Europe. The Tonale’s cousin appeared camouflaged entirely, with only the wheels, greenhouse, and some fascia elements being exposed. The headlamp unit seemed slightly different—it has to be changed to comply with American regulations, but the rest of the vehicle, including the camouflage design, appeared identical.

Side & Rear

While the Tonale gets low-profile tires wrapped around machine-cut alloys, the Hornet test mule was seen with smaller diameter wheels. The rear is near-identical as well, except for the bumper. While the shape and dimensions of the rear bumper look the same, the texture is certainly different. The Tonale gets a premium gloss back rear bumper; the Dodge test mule has exposed its simple hard-plastic unit. Note that test prototypes are not indicative of the final specification, and definitive conclusions cannot be drawn from spy pictures.

Interior

The interior similarities are evident between the 2023 Dodge Hornet and Alfa Romeo Tonale. A spy shot that autopareri.com recently published reveals that everything from the dashboard to the center console, instrument cluster, AC vents, and transmission tunnel looks alike. A visible difference is the center cap of the steering wheel, which thankfully features the Dodge logo — a pair of racing stripes.

Telematics and Connectivity

Additionally, the Hornet is expected to feature UConnect 5 connectivity platform on its 10.25-inch infotainment system and the 12.3-inch digital cluster. UConnect 5 delivers faster-operating speeds and supports a host of new convenience and connected car features. The functions are enabled through a Telematics Box Module, capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale interior
The 2023 Dodge Hornet was spotted with the same dashboard as the Tonale, save for the logo and color. Image: Alfa Romeo

It also brings Amazon Alexa natural language voice support and remote functions like engine start, door lock/unlock, and SOS call, among other functions, through a dedicated smartphone application. That said, expect the 2023 Dodge Hornet to support wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless charging.

Safety

The 2023 Dodge Hornet is expected to feature Level 2 autonomous driving, borrowing the driver-assistance systems (ADAS), from Alfa Romeo. The ADAS should sport features such as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC), Lane Centering (LC) and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), which automatically adjusts trajectory and speed, maintaining the SUV in the middle of the lane and at a distance from the vehicle in front, for the comfort and safety of the occupants.

Driver Attention Assist, which warns the driver if they are drowsy; Automatic Emergency Braking, which alerts the driver of danger and applies the brakes to mitigate collision with a pedestrian or cyclist; Blind Spot Detection, which detects rear blind spots and signals approaching vehicles to prevent a collision; Rear Cross Path detection, which warns of vehicles approaching on the sides during reversing, and high-resolution 360-degree camera with dynamic grid should be part of the equipment.

Production

According to a report from Passione Auto Italiane, the production of the Dodge Hornet will take place alongside the Alfa Romeo Tonale at the Giambattista Vico plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, Italy. There’s no plan to launch the new compact SUV in Europe, though, as per the report. Dodge’s biggest market continues to be the United States, where the brand is preparing to launch electric muscle car models based on the STLA Large platform starting in about two years. It’s first electric vehicle launch is the Ram Promaster Electric in 2023.

Kuniskis has stated (referring to the first spy shots from Europe) that the beans were already spilled regarding the production location of its upcoming PHEV (interview link below), indirectly confirming that the Dodge Hornet would be made at the Stellantis factory in Italy, and shipped to the United States.

2023 Dodge Hornet Release Date

Three new Dodge models will consecutively celebrate their world premiere during “Dodge Speed Week” from August 15, 2022, to August 17, 2022, at M1 Concourse in Pontiac (Michigan), USA. On the first day, there will be “current” muscle announcements, followed by a “gateway” muscle announcement on the second day, and a “future” muscle announcement on the third day. The gateway muscle vehicle will likely be the Dodge Hornet. Expect to see the first teasers of the Hornet in July 2022.

On April 26, 2022, Kuniskis went online with Bill Goldberg to felicitate Dodge’s new Chief Donut Maker (reality TV-like drifting competition), Preston Patterson. During a Q&A session with reporters, the CEO stated that Dodge would return to the ‘small compact space’ this summer with the Hornet, which will get the PHEV variant, as per Autoblog‘s report dated April 27, 2022. Expect the plug-in hybrid SUV to be revealed sometime in August 2022.

Is the 2023 Dodge Hornet the successor to the Journey?

After 12 years in the market, the Dodge Journey was discontinued in the United States in 2020. Some media reports call the compact Dodge Hornet the successor to the Journey, which was a mid-size model.

2023 Dodge Hornet FAQs

What is the Dodge Hornet release date?

Following the unveiling this August, expect Dodge to announce prices later this year.

What are the competitors to the Dodge Hornet?

The contenders are the Alfa Romeo Tonale, Audi Q3, BMW X1, and the Volvo XC40.

What is the expected 2023 Dodge Hornet price?

We expect the fully-loaded Dodge Hornet to be priced at around USD 50,000.

Featured image: TopElectricSUV unofficial render used for illustration purpose only.