SPOTTED: 2023 Dodge Hornet C-SUV Prototype!

The New Dodge Is Now Testing With 21-Inch Wheels...

Just a few weeks ago, we saw our first spy photos of the 2023 Dodge Hornet (GG) testing stateside. The new Hornet is the corporate twin to the all-new 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale. Both C-segment crossovers will be built in Italy, at the Stellantis Pomigliano d’Arco Assembly Plant.

Set to make its debut in August, the new Hornet will be the Dodge brand’s first electrified vehicle. Offering a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model, the Hornet will pave the way for an entire lineup of electrified options from the American performance brand.

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In these latest series of spy photos, we are able to see the new Hornet testing a set of 21-inch wheels from the Tonale. It is the first time we have seen a bigger wheel option on the new C-SUV from Dodge. Being wrapped in camouflage, it is hard to see the finer details of the newest Dodge crossover. However, we do get a peek at that “mail slot” front air intake (a design element taken from the current Charger). The Hornet does seem like a more “toned” down version of the Tonale.

Based on the Small-Wide 4×4 LWB architecture shared with the Jeep® Compass (MP), the Hornet is radically different than the Compass. In these spy photos, we get a chance to see the new Hornet alongside a Compass and can really see how different the two vehicles are.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

It is expected that the new Hornet will make its official debut some time around the Woodward Dream Cruise in August, or at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit which is now in September. Either way, we will be there for the first all-new Dodge vehicle for the American lineup since 2011.

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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What a yawn. This could be anything. Toyota Chevy Hyundai Kia. Absolutely nothing style wise to set it apart. I’m sure they will sell like crazy though. After all, it’s an SUV right?

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A Hornet with a GME-T4 Stelvio engine should be fun.
Dress it up for the North American market inside and out, a nice set of shift paddles and it will do well.

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I’m a Dodge muscle head and the Hornet 🐝 would not be my choice for a ride, but in that same venue, one should not discount the significance of this Dodge. The Hornet 🐝 is fundamental to our muscle brands future because not only is it totally forward looking in its basic architecture, this advanced architecture was importantly developed consistent with Stellantis engineering policy and its deep pockets engineering investment that FCA and certainly Dodge could never afford. Could Alfa Romeo alone afford this vehicle on its own, of course not. In addition, this new SUV was a hard pill for Alfa Romeo to swallow I am sure, but the Hornet establishes a precedent of linkage between Alfa and Dodge, one that considering their similar performance heritage, can only produce great vehicles for both and Stellantis will make sure it continues if simply based on the scale of development investment over two brands both need to survive and prosper.
Indeed, the Hornet, styling wise, could have been better, more distinctive, I’m a bit disappointed too, but from every other perspective, it is beyond important and exciting. I see AR developing performance platforms in Italy, Dodge larger ones in the States and both brands will reap the benefits with their own styling interpretation. This statement might not be exactly the play out of this corporate policy, but the Hornet 🐝 almost guarantees a strong future for Dodge and its performance orient product line. That should put Hornet critics a little more at ease and accepting with its modest short comings, You can’t deny the significance of what lies beneath the surface, a future.

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Not sure why they even bothered with the camo, we already know what the Alfa version looks like and this seems to be almost exactly the same. I thought we were past the days of car companies just swapping out lights, front grilles and emblems then calling it a day. Just lazy.

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They need to ditch those rims for the production version.

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