2023 Dodge Hornet Crossover Revealed With PHEV Power And Sub-$30k Price

Dodge has announced it is launching its first-ever electrified performance vehicle, and you will be able to grab one for less than $30,000. The 2023 Hornet will come in two different models — the Dodge Hornet R/T and the Dodge Hornet GT. According to the manufacturer, both models offer best-in-class performance and provide a gateway for enthusiasts eager to join the so-called Dodge Brotherhood of Muscle. The Hornet GT is potentially the fastest entry-level utility vehicle available, with a 0 to 60 mph time of just 6.5 seconds. Despite the speed, it is soundly beaten for pace by its brother, the R/T, which can hit the 60 mph mark in just 6.1 seconds thanks to its electric powertrain.

In a statement about the launch, Dodge's Tim Kuniskis says, "The Dodge Hornet is poised to jolt the mainstream compact utility vehicle segment with looks, feel and performance that are unmistakably Dodge. Hornet shakes up the status quo with aggressive Dodge styling, the most power in the segment from our multi-energy lineup, the best driving dynamics, a full lineup of segment-exclusive performance features, the best standard technology, as well available Direct Connection factory-backed performance upgrades. And this is just the start of the Dodge brand's electrification journey."

Beyond pure performance, Dodge is also offering a few cutting-edge optional extras if you want to stretch beyond the $30,000 mark. While it isn't quite a self-driving car, the tech pack comes with "level 2 autonomous driving" features, according to the automaker. This includes speed assist with traffic sign recognition, driver fatigue detection, lane control, and traffic jam assist. The tech that comes as standard is impressive too; Dodge is including things like rain-sensing wipers, emergency brake assist, and blind spot detection as standard.

Two powertrains to choose from

If you're trying to save money at the gas station, the Dodge Hornet R/T offers 30 miles of all-electric range alongside the kind of fuel economy a hybrid provides. The batteries can be topped up at any charging station, hence the "plug-in" part of a plug-in hybrid. While operating in tandem with the electric motors, the car's 1.3-liter engine is capable of producing over 285 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the most powerful hybrid utility vehicle on the market. All of that power is put through a six-speed automatic transmission, and several driving modes are available depending on your style and needs.

The powershot feature, which is activated by holding down the gear shift paddles and performing a pedal kickdown, is exclusive to the R/T. It provides a 25-horsepower boost and gives instant access to every bit of torque your drivetrain has, so it's ideal for when you need a quick start. Powershot can be activated while in sport mode, a setting that sharpens the throttle, optimizes the gear shifts, and trades economy for raw performance. There is also a hybrid mode, all-electric mode, and e-save mode.

If you're the type of person that will only drive a regular gas-powered vehicle, you haven't been left out — that's what the Hornet GT is. It has a turbocharged 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine capable of producing upwards of 295 lb-ft of torque. All of that goes through a nine-speed electronic transmission. Like its semi-electric brother, the GT includes a sport mode for those times you really want a performance boost. Both vehicles also come with all-wheel drive as standard, though the R/T's is a little bit better, as it can power all four wheels independently.

Style to match the performance

As you may expect from such a powerful car, its lines have been designed to give a muscular appearance. The vehicle has a slightly angry-looking front with a mail-slot style grille and some very thin headlamps. Vents have been incorporated into the hood, which assists with performance and adds a sporting touch to the car's look. The logos are illuminated, too, so people can see what you're driving in any lighting conditions. There's also a double exhaust at the rear, which ties in beautifully with the other sporty features. 

The standard R/T will be rolling round on 18-inch Graphite Grey alloy wheels, while the GT gets 17-inch alloys. Multiple wheel options are available as optional extras. There are a staggering seven color hues on offer with the Hornet, and a fair amount of effort seems to have gone into the names — there's even an apparent "Zoolander" reference. Buyers can pick from Acapulco Gold, Blu Bayou, Blue Steele, Gray Cray, Hot Tamale, Q Ball, and 8 Ball.

The interior has been designed with the driver at the center, though not in the McLaren F1 sense. You're still positioned on the left, but the instrument panels have been subtly tilted towards the individual behind the wheel. A "wrapped and stitched mid-bolster" has also been added to boost the panel's visual width. Many of the car's controls are placed on the uniquely-shaped steering wheel, aside from the ignition button. That gets pride of place on the center console. The Dodge Hornet GT will open for orders on August 17, 2022, with the Hornet GT reaching dealers in December 2022 and the Hornet R/T arriving in showrooms by spring 2023. There is currently no word on when orders will open for the Hornet R/T.