The all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet (GG) is finally here. The Hornet is the first all-new Dodge product in over a decade and although that might be exciting enough, there has already been a lot of controversy surrounding it due to its Alfa Romeo underpinnings.
Thanks to Dodge, we were invited to the unveiling of the Hornet and got a chance to spend some time checking out the newest vehicle to carry the Rhombi logo.
Some of you may be thinking, aren’t electrified Dodge vehicles supposed to wear the new-styled classic “Fratzog” logo? Well, that badge will only be exclusive to all-electric Dodge offerings and since the Hornet is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), it still has an internal combustion engine (ICE) under the hood.
While some may think the Hornet is simply a badge-engineered Alfa Romeo Tonale, the Hornet takes on a totally different personality than its Italian cousin thanks to its Dodge DNA. If designers would have changed the C-pillar of the Hornet to something else, nobody would have questioned it being a Tonale clone.
The exterior of the vehicle, clearly shouts Dodge thanks to a front fascia styled very close to that of the Durango. The “boomerang” styled LED signature lights do help to give the Hornet a bit of its own identity. Gone is the “D-O-D-G-E” text from the grille, while the Rhombi logo stands dead center. Dual hood-mounted vents, also play into the Dodge styling formula on other vehicles but do help to add a more sporty look to the Hornet over its Tonale cousin.
Going to the rear of the vehicle, it gets quite interesting. Hornet features a new take on the Dodge signature race track taillight by integrating the Rhombi logo into the center of it. Personally, I think it is a great touch and just adds to the character of the vehicle.
Inside, the Hornet features a different instrument panel (I/P) than the Tonale. Gone is the round climate vent look, in favor of more squared units. The center climate vents and toggle switches in the center of the I/P are identical to the Tonale, but one will be easy to overlook that considering it’s no different than a Chrysler 300 and a Dodge Charger.
The center console is also identical to the Tonale, however, whereas the Alfa Romeo model has its “D-N-A” selector, the Hornet instead places its push-to-start button there.
There is a fully digital 12.3-inch gauge cluster, with high-resolution graphics including graphics of the Hornet, itself. And the 10.25-inch Uconnect 5 infotainment system, is laid out surprisingly well. I really like the ability to split the screen, to show things like the Dodge Performance Pages and infotainment system details, similar to what can be done on the 12.1-inch Uconnect 5 screen in the Ram 1500.
While the steering wheel looks to be straight from the Tonale, however, while the switchgear might be similar the style of the wheel is quite different. Where the Tonale features a push-to-start button on the left side of the wheel, the Hornet instead adds a button for the “Sport” mode selector.
As for build quality and materials used in the cabin, they seem to be pretty premium. There are touch materials virtually everywhere and all controls are laid out well, allowing the driver to find them without really taking their eyes off the road. Seats also seem pretty comfortable and are well-bolstered, but not enough that they will dig into your sides.
Being 6’1″, I was curious how the rear seat would fit someone as tall as me. Surprisingly, I had no problem in the rear headroom department. However, with the driver’s seat placed in a position that I was comfortable with, I did have tight legroom in the rear. If the rear seats could travel rearward a couple of inches, I would have been plenty comfortable in the second row during a long road trip.
I was quite impressed overall by the Hornet’s overall appearance. While it isn’t the most aggressive Dodge, it does have enough of that Dodge DNA to make you not even think about its Italian roots underneath. And while the Hornet is aimed at taking on vehicles like the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, and Kia Sportage, it adds something that those vehicles don’t have… attitude.
While some may be mad that this isn’t a true performance vehicle, in recent years, the Dodge brand relied on the Grand Caravan and Journey to rack in a majority of sales numbers. Throwing the brand into the C-SUV segment, is a smart position for the brand, considering it is one of the most competitive segments globally.
I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Hornet later this year, to get a true impression of just how this vehicle does in not only the C-SUV segment but also in the Dodge portfolio.
2023 Dodge Hornet Image Gallery: