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.
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.
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.
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.
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.