Dodge’s Next Vehicle Will Be A SUV Dubbed The “Hornet” For 2023:

Hornet Nameplate Will Return For Upcoming SUV...

It seems like forever ago, but back in November 2019, we discussed Dodge’s intentions of bringing a new performance SUV to the market to replace the gap in the lineup left by the successful Dodge Journey. Now while the Dodge brand continues to boast itself as a high-performance “muscle car” brand in the United States and Canada, there are a few Dodge brand vehicles outside the United States and Canada that are still based on front-wheel-drive architectures. 

Mexican-Market 2020 Dodge Neon GT. (Dodge Mexico).

The popular Fiat Tipo-based Dodge Neon has proven that the Dodge attitude can still live in its less performance-oriented offerings. With that being said, our sources as well as a few other media publications have discovered that the Dodge brand’s next vehicle to hit the market will be a front-wheel-drive-based SUV offering.

The all-new SUV will be a two-row crossover based on the upcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale. The Tonale itself has gained global notoriety as the important piece for the Alfa Romeo brand’s future global success. 

2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept. (Alfa Romeo).

Wearing the “Hornet” nameplate, the new Dodge SUV will be built at the Pomigliano D’Arco (Naples) plant in Italy alongside the new Tonale. The Hornet name was most recently trademarked back in March of 2020 and was used on the 2007 Dodge Hornet Concept, as well as being the originally planned name for the 2013 Dodge Dart. The Hornet nameplate was also worn by a compact two and four-door sedan, station wagon, and hatchback coupe offering from American Motors Corporation (AMC) throughout the 1970s. AMC was purchased by the former Chrysler Corporation in 1987 and merged into Chrysler in 1990.

The new Dodge Hornet SUV could share the Tonale’s rumored new turbocharged 1.5-liter Firefly inline-four-cylinder engine. The new 1.5-liter engine would be part of the Global Small Engine (GSE) family, which currently underpins the Renegade and Compass turbocharged gasoline offerings. Currently, the turbocharged 1.3-liter FireFly inline four-cylinder in those models produces 177 horsepower and 210 lb.-ft. of torque. We expect that the 1.5-liter should push the 200 horsepower barrier. 

2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept. (Alfa Romeo).

We wouldn’t be surprised if Stellantis engines find a way to shoehorn in a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder from the Global Medium Engine (GME) family, considering that the Hornet will be focused on the North American and Middle-East markets. The turbocharged 2.0-liter also known as the GME-T4 is already in a number of Chrysler Group products in the North American marketplace.

You can expect internal combustion engine (ICE), mild-hybrid electric vehicle (mHEV), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) offerings for the Tonale. The mHEV version would feature a system similar to the current eTorque system found on the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder, as well as the Ram 1500 pickups.

2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept. (Alfa Romeo).

For those who are avid adventurers, the Hornet will offer all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability.

While not much is known about the Hornet, we expect to see testing prototypes soon. Our sources tell us that the Hornet will start production sometime in mid-2022 and be hitting dealer showrooms in the fall of 2022 as a 2023 model.


Mike Volkmann

Michael Volkmann, a mechanical engineer in the steel industry, autocrossed and road-raced Neons. Michael has drag raced his 1971 Duster 340, 2015 Dodge Charger SRT392, 2009 Challenger R/T, and Neons, of which he’s owned seven — one SRT4, three ACRs, and three Sport Coupes.

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Hooray something new!!!!!

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Hooray something new!!!!!

Lots of new products on the way!

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This may not be the SUV I expected for Dodge, but it certainly is a good choice, if properly executed. It must be aggressive in styling and performance. No milk-toast engine please, it must use the most powerful turbo 4 available and be tuned for performance handling. The Hornet must pack real “sting” or it will dilute the Dodge muscle image so successfully cultivated for years. It notably is the first step by Dodge to the next generation of muscle car definition and importantly and not to be dismissed, a lot is riding on the Hornet to get this right. As desperately as Dodge needs an SUV, being the right SUV is critically more important. I am sure there will be a critical eye turned to it’s place of manufacture, another challenge facing Dodge with this decision, another issue that can impact the Hornet and has to be addressed from the get go,. An American muscle car built in Italy will absolutely be a journalistic issue and one story line sure to be exploited by the press. The Hornet also holds out renewed hope that the Chrysler brand will receive an SUV soon too, please. Clearly this is a needed vehicle for Dodge, but even more clearly a lot more is at stake than just filling a nich for anything that looks like an SUV. The Hornet is a game changer, make no mistake. Oh yes, love the name.

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Should be an interesting vehicle.

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It will be interesting to see if it has new body panels or just front and end caps.

This will be a phase 2 lightening car so the Power to Weight should be excellent if Pepe Le Cheapskate does cost down the innovation out of it.

So it should be sustainably better handling and quicker then other SUSW models

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