Only Dodge would put a limited-slip differential in its Toyota Rav4 competitor.
Dodge has announced its first all-new product in a decade, the new Hornet compact SUV. The Hornet, a corporate sibling of the Alfa Romeo Tonale, debuts as the most powerful crossover available for under $30,000.
That’s true whether you opt for the gasoline-powered GT or the plug-in-hybrid R/T. The GT comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo that makes over 265 hp. The plug-in is even more potent, with a claimed output of over 285 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Its powertrain uses a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor at the rear axle. It’s not quite as powerful as the 302-hp Toyota RAV4 Prime, but the Toyota starts at a smidge over $40,000.
Total electric range from the plug-in’s 15.4-kWh battery stands at 30 miles, again a bit behind the Toyota with its 42-mile range. But Dodge is clearly trying to market the Hornet as the enthusiast choice, highlighting a function called PowerShot that summons an extra 25 hp for a temporary boost. Dodge says the function reduces the 0-60 time of the Hornet R/T by nearly a second, allowing it to hit the magic number in 6.1 seconds. In Car and Driver testing, a RAV4 Prime accomplished the same in 5.4 seconds without atime-limited overboost. The gas-powered Hornet GT should hit 60 in 6.5 seconds, per Dodge. Dodge notes that no gas engine in the segment makes more power.
It’s not trying to win over enthusiasts on power alone. Dodge notes that the Hornet GT also has an electronic limited-slip differential, dynamic torque vectoring, four-piston Brembo brakes, and Koni shocks. Weight distribution is supposedly best-in-class.
Inside, you get typical Dodge tech like the newest generation of Uconnect and a suite of available driver aids. The dashboard has been canted slightly toward the driver, an attempt to show this as a driver-first vehicle, while red accents add some aggression. The exterior translates typical Dodge elements onto the smaller canvas, adapting the corporate light bar but now with a Dodge badge embedded in the center. Exterior colors include Q Ball, 8 Ball, Hot Tamale, Blue Steele, and Acapulco Gold.
The Dodge Hornet GT goes on sale in December, with the plug-in hybrid R/T arriving in Spring 2023. Detailed pricing has not been announced, but the Hornet will start under $30,000.