CAUGHT: 2023 Dodge Hornet C-SUV Is A True Alfa Clone!

Spotted In America, For The First Time...

Just a few days ago, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, held an online press conference to discuss the winner of the brand’s “Chief Donut Maker” contest. During a Q&A session with reports, Kuniskis was asked about the future of electric vehicles with the brand. Kuniskis responded, “I think we’ve actually even said when we get back into the small compact space this summer when we launch the Hornet, we will have a PHEV or variant of that.”

According to Kuniskis, we should be expecting the Hornet to make its official debut this summer. “Right now, we’re targeting August,” he told reporters.

Kuniskis had talked about a PHEV vehicle coming to market by the end of 2022, to multiple sources before. However, it was the first time he mentioned the Hornet by name. Leaked images from a low-res video inside the Stellantis Pomigliano d’Arco Assembly Plant, showed what appeared to be a Dodge version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. 

Styling – 

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Now, we are getting a look at the Hornet stateside testing, in full camouflage of course. 

These latest images show quite a bit of detail, which we couldn’t make out in the low-res leaked images. The first is the fact the Hornet will wear headlamps with “boomerang” styled LED signature lights, the same units we saw in earlier spy photos of the Tonale. With most of the front fascia covered in vinyl camouflage, we can see that the Hornet will feature a “mail slot” air intake, similar to the current Charger performance models. It appears that both models will also share the same ACC unit in the lower front of the fascia, however, the Alfa seems to have a more radical design.

If you look closely at the hood, we can see that the Hornet will also feature slight hood scoops, slightly similar to the Durango performance models. However, we don’t expect them to be functional.

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When it comes to the side profile of the Hornet, it appears identical to the Tonale. The daylight opening or “DLO” of the greenhouse also appears to be a direct copy of the Tonale. In our opinion, it is kind of disappointing to see that the Dodge doesn’t differ in some sort of way as both models will be competing against one another in the North American marketplace. 

As the Dodge brand has its own character, it seems the Hornet might be nothing more than a quick badge-engineering job. With Dodge’s muscle car attitude, we were expecting the Hornet to have its own personality.

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From the rear, it again appears to be very close to the Tonale. While the lower rear bumper features more grey plastic than the Alfa, the signature Dodge “race-track” taillamps appear to be of the same design as the Alfa. This could change before the Hornet reaches the market, as we said before, we saw an early Tonale prototype running Hornet parts.

Powertrain –

Multiple sources have indicated, that the Hornet and Tonale will share the same propulsion systems for the North American market. Since Alfa Romeo has already revealed the powertrains to be used for the Tonale in North America, we can get a good idea of what to expect from the all-new Hornet.


The first powertrain option for North America is the turbocharged 2.0-liter GME-T4 inline-four-cylinder. The “GME-T4” as it is commonly called, is a popular engine in a number of current North American Stellantis vehicles including the Alfa Romeo Giulia (GA), Alfa Romeo Stelvio (GU), Jeep Cherokee (KL), Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe (WL74), and Jeep Wrangler (JL). The leak also stated that the North American Jeep Compass built-in Toluca, Mexico, would also adopt the engine

Back in August, thanks to a leak on the Italian car enthusiast forum AutoPareri.com, we learned that the Hornet would in fact feature the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine from the Stellantis Global Medium Engine (GME) family. The GME-T4 is rated at 256 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque in the Tonale and is mated to a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission. All GME-T4 Tonale models will be fitted with Alfa’s Q4 system (Alfa’s version of all-wheel-drive) as standard equipment.

According to our sources, the Hornet could see a boost in horsepower over the Tonale to more align it with Dodge’s performance attributes. The GME-T4 has shown horsepower levels around 270 horsepower to 280 horsepower, depending on the application. For example, the North American-spec 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio equipped with the GME-T4 engine is rated at 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque on 91 octane premium unleaded fuel.  We expect the Hornet to fall within those parameters. 

We also knew that the Hornet would feature a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain. While it does share its underpinnings with the Compass, we weren’t sure if we would see a version of the European-spec Compass 4xe PHEV powertrain under the hood or if there would be the PHEV version of the North American-spec Wrangler 4xe powertrain which uses the GME-T4 as its base.

A Clone Of The Jeep® 4xe Powertrain – 

But again, Tonale seems to have answered that question. The second powertrain option will be a new Q4 PHEV system which is very similar to the Jeep Compass 4xe’s setup in Europe, however, this one will use bigger batteries for more power and a longer all-electric range.

The Tonale’s Q4 PHEV powertrain integrates two electric motors and a 15.5-kWh battery pack (4.1-kWh bigger than the Compass 4xe), with a fuel-efficient 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. This architecture provides two cars in one – a battery-electric vehicle featuring an electric motor (e-motor) and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack on the rear axle and a conventional vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) fitted on the front axle, creating all-wheel-drive.

The Q4 PHEV system delivers a total output of 275 horsepower (180 horsepower from the ICE and the rest from its e-motor. It allows the Tonale to run from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) acceleration in just 6.2 seconds while allowing the vehicle to have an all-electric range of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) in the city cycle and 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) when city and highway are combined.

We still don’t know if the 4xe’s smaller battery pack will find its way into the Hornet or not, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Hornet will get the Tonale’s bigger battery pack. Since both the Tonale and Hornet will be built on the same assembly line, it makes sense to share the same battery pack to speed up the production process.

Overall Size – 

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Following in the footsteps of the Tonale, the all-new Hornet will be based on the Stellantis Small Wide 4×4 LWB architecture, which currently underpins vehicles like the Jeep Compass, Jeep Commander, and Fiat Toro. The important thing to look at is the Tonale’s overall size when compared to other SUVs. The all-new Dodge compact SUV should feature similar dimensions as the Tonale. 

2023 Alfa Romeo Size Comparison Chart
  2020 Dodge Journey (JC) 2022 Jeep Compass (MP) 2022 Jeep Commander (H1) 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale 
Length (in.) 192.4 173.4 187.8 178.3
Width (in.) 72.2 73.8 73.2 72.4
Height (in.) 66.6 64.6 66.2 63

As you can see in the chart above, the new 2022 Jeep Commander (H1) is very similar in size to the 2020 Dodge Journey (other than 4.6 inches in length). The Tonale is longer than the Compass but is narrower and lower than the popular Jeep C-SUV. 

When Will It Reach Dealers? – 

We are told production of the Hornet, should begin sometime in Q4 2022 (pending the ongoing semiconductor shortages). If it does reach production in Q4 in Italy, we expect with shipping across the Atlantic that Hornet could arrive in early Q1 2023.

2023 Dodge Hornet Prototype Image Gallery:

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Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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