A blue Dodge Hornet parked next to the exterior of a bowling alley covered in street art

An Alfa Romeo and not using a crest? We drive the 2024 Dodge Hornet RT plug-in. Ars Tecnica

Zoom in / When is a Dodge not a Dodge? When it is also an Alfa Romeo, on this case.

Jonathan Gitlin

ASHEVILLE, NCA A day after Dodge revealed the newest of its Hemi V8-powered muscle automobiles, the corporate additionally lifted the embargo on driving impressions for its subsequent automobile, the Hornet crossover. It is a far cry from the way more wise 1,025-hp Challengera compact crossover that features a plug-in hybrid model beginning at a aggressive $40,000. Ars spent a day driving the Hornet on the outskirts of Asheville and located rather a lot to love about this good-looking crossover.

However first, a couple of phrases about its origin story.

Final February, the world received its first take a look at a sexy new crossover from Alfa Romeo. It was given the unlucky title of Tonale, and fairly a couple of of us raised an eyebrow on the information that the automobile would come with an NFT which served as a everlasting file for the automobile, from manufacturing to lifetime upkeep.

The sheetmetal and headlights are all Alfa, but the front bumper and grille molding is pure Dodge.
Zoom in / The sheetmetal and headlights are all Alfa, however the entrance bumper and grille molding is pure Dodge.

Jonathan Gitlin

The Tonale was imagined to arrive in america by the tip of March however was delayed till Could. The rationale I carry this up is that so far as sheet metallic goes, you do not have to attend for Alfa to hit the showrooms to drive it. It’s because the Hornet is an instance of the observe often called badge engineering.

Dodge wanted one thing smaller and extra fuel-efficient to counter all these V8s it pushes, and the little Alfa match the invoice. It is a observe that the auto trade has turned to time and time once more; the Saab 9-2x, Fiat 124 Spyder, Buick Regal and even the Audi e-tron GT are all examples. On this case, as a result of budgets have been tight, the Hornet wears a Dodge entrance grille and badging says all of it Dodge, however in any other case the whole lot is mechanically an identical to the Tonale, as is the bodywork.

The Hornet GT is the bottom mannequin, which ought to be out there inside the subsequent few weeks. It begins at $29,995 and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that places out 268 hp (200 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), sending it to all 4 wheels through a nine-speed computerized gearbox. Alfa Romeo should not have too many complications with the Hornet GT as the corporate will not be importing its model utilizing this powerplant into america.

2024 Dodge Hornet R/T (left), shown in Bayou Blue, and 2023 Dodge Hornet GT, shown in Acapulco Gold.
Zoom in / 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T (left), proven in Bayou Blue, and 2023 Dodge Hornet GT, proven in Acapulco Gold.


Though I briefly drove the Hornet GT, I spent most of my time within the Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid. Set to reach as a 2024 mannequin 12 months automobile in late spring, the R/T will begin at just below $40,000, undercutting Alfa by a couple of thousand {dollars} within the course of. And no, there are not any related NFTs for Dodge.

This reportedly damage emotions at Alfa Romeo, however sufficient of the intra-Stellantis firm politics. Beneath the Hornet R/T’s hood, and sure, these vents are practical, you may discover a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the entrance wheels through a six-speed computerized transmission. This generates a most of 180 hp (134 kW) and 199 lb-ft (270 Nm), and the 44 hp (33 kW) starter motor can even ship its energy to the entrance wheels when wanted.

The rear wheels are powered by a 121 hp (90 kW), 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) electrical motor powered by a full-size 15.5 kWh lithium-ion traction battery. The gasoline engine and two electrical motors give the Hornet R/T a mixed output of 288 hp (215 kW) and 383 lb-ft (519 Nm). That makes it essentially the most highly effective crossover within the phase, Dodge says, but in addition one with a helpful all-electric vary.

Dodge is positioning the R/T as a high-performance crossover, and when you pull each stalks on the steering wheel concurrently in Sport mode, you activate “PowerShot,” a lift mode that provides you an additional 30 hp (22 kW) for 15 seconds. (Requires a 15 second cooldown earlier than you should utilize it once more.)

Lots of physical buttons here.
Zoom in / Plenty of bodily buttons right here.


Do that from a standstill and the Hornet R/T ought to hit 100km/h in 5.6 seconds, though you could want the Michelin Pilot Sport PS4 efficiency tires (fitted to 20-inch wheels) that include the Monitor Pack non-compulsory. My assigned R/T wore customary 18-inch wheels and Goodyear tires, which in all probability dropped a tenth or three all the way down to 60, however offered higher gas effectivity and a bit extra trip consolation.

Sport mode retains the four-cylinder engine going completely, and I discovered it helpful for scaling climbs in among the extra mountainous elements of our using route. However reality be informed, I discovered the Hornet R/T extra partaking to drive in Eco mode. This switches off the engine as quickly as it’s not wanted and accelerates first through the electrical motor, which isn’t solely a plus for gas financial system, but in addition saves you from the somewhat harsh sound of the small engine. Pushed this fashion, the aim turns into to lose as little momentum as doable, aiming for the overlap in a Venn diagram of pace and effectivity.

In reality, I used to be impressed with the R/T’s effectivity. Dodge claims an electric-only vary of 30 miles from a full battery, however we’re nonetheless ready for an official estimate from the EPA. It is a simple automobile to drive on a day-to-day foundation; Even in Eco mode, the throttle tip level is well-judged and visibility is not objectionable. However as is usually the case, there’s little in the best way of steering really feel.

It's refreshing to see a new car show up in such bold colors.
Zoom in / It is refreshing to see a brand new automobile present up in such daring colours.

Jonathan Gitlin

In the beginning of the journey, earlier than I began spending a while in Sport mode, I noticed as much as 55mpg (4.28L/100km) on the journey laptop, however ended the day at 29.7mpg (7.92 L/100 km) for the 86 miles (138 km) I used the motor, plus 63.6 miles (102 km) on electrical energy alone. That is clearly greater than double Dodge’s estimate, however the further vary may have come from each regenerative braking on descents in any case these climbs, and reserve engine energy in Sport mode.

Rather less time in Sport mode would have improved gas effectivity, however in all probability at the price of utterly draining the battery earlier than reaching the tip of the driving distance. However I am assured in saying that with a full battery, the Hornet R/T ought to deal with common every day driving responsibility with out a lot reliance on hydrocarbon combustion. Dodge says it ought to take 2.5 hours to recharge the battery to 100% with a Degree 2 charger, or simply over seven hours if solely 110V can be utilized.

When you’ve sat in a current Alfa Giulia or Stelvio, the Hornet’s inside will really feel immediately acquainted. There’s the identical narrow-rimmed steering wheel with the big aluminum shift paddles mounted behind it. A twin grille binnacle sits on the principle instrument cluster, although it is now a ten.25-inch all-digital show. But it surely’s not a carryover inside from these larger automobiles.

The Hornet makes use of a wholly touchscreen-based consumer interface, however there are unobtrusive bodily buttons for a lot of the generally used features like local weather settings and drive modes. The infotainment system runs Uconnect 5, which is extensively used throughout the assorted manufacturers owned by father or mother firm Stellantis.

It runs on Android Automotive, Google’s car-oriented model of its smartphone working system, albeit with out among the Google companies like voice assistant you may discover in programs utilized by Volvo, Polestar or Normal Motors. Each Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come customary, together with SiriusXM and Alexa integration, and you will find each USB-A and USB-C ports to your units.

The Hornet features a fully digital main instrument display.
Zoom in / The Hornet incorporates a totally digital major instrument show.

Jonathan Gitlin

The usual suite of superior driver help programs consists of adaptive cruise management, lane retaining, ahead collision warning and blind spots with rear cross site visitors alerts, however different ADAS options equivalent to site visitors signal recognition, 360-degree parking cameras, sleepy driver detection, and entrance and aspect parking sensors require the $2,245 Tech Pack.

When you’re within the temper to tick off possibility containers, the Hornet R/T Plus provides hands-free tailgate opening and shutting, sunroof, turn-by-turn navigation, vented leather-based entrance seats, wi-fi charging cellphone and a 14-speaker sound system for $4,900. Plus, there is a Blacktop bundle that provides some black trim and wheels for $1,995. The $2,995 Monitor Pack provides dual-valve shock absorbers, Alcantara-wrapped sport seats, crimson Brembo brake calipers, and 20-inch wheels with sport all-season tires.

As a result of the Hornet R/T is in-built Italy, it isn’t eligible for the US clear automobile tax credit score when you purchase one, however the domestic-build rule would not presently apply to leased autos, opening up the potential for a $7,500 low cost on Hornet R/T lease autos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *