For the past two years, we have discussed the Dodge brand’s intentions of bringing a new performance SUV to the market to replace the gap in the lineup left by the successful but outdated Dodge Journey. As Dodge continues to boast itself as a “muscle car” brand in the United States and Canada, the American automaker is set to launch a new two-year enthusiast plan called “Never Lift” in the fourth quarter of this year. The plan is to give the public a look at the brand’s product and action plans for the next two years. One of those all-new products is a new SUV – called the Hornet.
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 Tonale is expected to feature an all-new turbocharged 1.5-liter Firefly inline-four-cylinder engine. This new engine has already been caught testing in various Stellantis vehicles in Europe, including the Jeep® Renegade, Compass, and even the Fiat Tipo hatchback and station wagon variants. That engine is expected to feature mild-hybrid (mHEV) technology and is projected to push the 200 horsepower barrier.
Now, 200 horsepower is nothing to stick your nose up at, it doesn’t really fit into the world of the Dodge brand’s high-performance attitude. But now we are finally getting new details about what exactly will be under the hood, of Dodge’s upcoming performance C-SUV, thanks to a recent post on the Italian car enthusiast forum AutoPareri.com.
One of the forum members has posted what seems to be part of a Stellantis internal document stating that the Dodge Hornet will get the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder from the company’s Global Medium Engine (GME) lineup.
Currently, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine internally known as (GME-T4) is a highly popular engine for the Chrysler Group and sits under the hood of several vehicles within the Jeep, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo product lines. In the Jeep Cherokee (KL), the GME-T4 delivers 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque and has a fuel economy rating of 31 MPG on the highway. We expect the all-new Hornet to be much lighter than the Cherokee, giving the Hornet a much better performance driving dynamic than the Cherokee.
In a document released during the recent EV Day 2021 presentation, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis talked about the brand embracing electrification for its performance line of muscle cars starting in 2024. However, this particular vehicle will be one of 9 new plug-in electric (PHEV) vehicles for the company and set to launch in 2022, making it Dodge’s first production PHEV vehicle.
According to the sources close to MoparInsiders, the first Dodge PHEV will be the Hornet. It makes sense if the Hornet adopts the GME-T4, as it is used in the current Wrangler Unlimited 4xe PHEV.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe uses the GME-T4 with an engine-mounted generator unit, a new ZF-sourced 8P75PH 8-speed automatic transmission incorporates a transmission-mounted motor-generator unit integrated to the bottom of the transmission itself, and a 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack to store enough power for up to 25 miles of pure electric operation for daily commutes.
Although it is unlikely that the Hornet would feature the same setup since the Hornet is based on a front-wheel-drive architecture, we do know that the system is capable of producing up to a combined 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque while delivering an estimated 50 MPGe in the Wrangler application.
While the Dodge Journey represented the Dodge brand in several markets where the current Charger, Challenger, and Durango did not, however, we aren’t sure exactly of Dodge’s plan on just how the new Hornet might be playing for the brand in the global marketplace.
Our sources told us that the Hornet will start production sometime in mid-2022 and show arrive in dealer showrooms in the fall of 2022, as a 2023 model.
Be sure to stay tuned to MoparInsiders.com, for the latest information and news surrounding the upcoming Dodge Hornet.