Summer Arrival for Dodge Hornet Utility Vehicle


The long-rumored Dodge Hornet is now a reality, a compact SUV scheduled to roll out this summer. The Hornet is poised to become the volume model that the Dodge brand lacks, a vehicle that will share its architecture with the upcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale. In the Hornet, we will see the first new Dodge since the revived Dart’s brief run from 2013 to 2016.

We say “scheduled” because supply chain delays are making it difficult for automakers to pin down dates. During an online meeting on Tuesday, Tim Kuniskis, the Dodge brand CEO, substantiated the Hornet. He offered little details about the model specifically but mentioned an August 2022 during “Speed Week” in Michigan was planned reports the Detroit Free Press.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale exterior
The Dodge Hornet will share its platform with the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale.

Dodge Hornet Particulars

Unlike the Tonale, which has standard all-wheel drive and is a plug-in hybrid, the Dodge Hornet most likely comes with a traditional gas engine. But an electrified version will roll out as well. Kuniskis did not confirm whether it would a traditional or plug-in hybrid. We also know that Dodge will soon embrace full electrification.

Like the Tonale, the Hornet will be produced in Italy. That is the same arrangement Fiat has with Jeep as the Fiat 500X and the Jeep Renegade are both manufactured there. Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Fiat are all part of the new Stellantis entity that comprises 14 brands, including Chrysler, Ram, and Peugeot. Stellantis was formed in January 2021 and has been busy consolidating operations and planning new products for its brands.

Dodge Hornet and Alfa Romeo Tonale

We won’t speculate on what the Dodge Hornet will look like, its trim, or other configurations. The Alfa Romeo Tonale will cost $38,000 and target the BMW X1, Volvo XC40, and other entry-level luxury SUVs. On the other hand, we expect the Hornet will have significant exterior and cabin differences as it aims for the mainstream market. Likely competitors include the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and the Chevrolet Trax, among others.

A new model for Dodge should breathe life into a product-hungry brand. The Challenger coupe and Charger sedan have soldiered on for a decade-and-a-half, while the current Durango rolled out in 2011. The Challenger and Charger have stayed the course thanks to many performance variants appearing, including several Hellcat models. Even the Durango received its own Hellcat-inspired model for 2021. But all three are all that remains of a once six-model-strong product line that also included the compact Dart sedan, the small Journey SUV, and the Grand Caravan minivan.

Electric Dodge Car

Not confirmed but soon expected is the first fully electric Dodge car. That model may not replace the Charger and Challenger in their entirety, but it could complement their replacement. Nevertheless, an EV muscle car is in progress and we might see it introduced this summer as well according to Autoblog.

Both models would then appear at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in September with production plans announced around that time. We should also learn by then the status of the Challenger, Charger, and Durango for the 2023 model year.

Saving Chrysler

Dodge’s three current models number 50 percent more than the Chrysler brand’s two vehicles. Like the Charger and Challenger, the 300 sedan has been around for ages. The Pacifica minivan is newer, replacing the Town & Country when it arrived in 2017. A refreshed Pacifica is expected soon.

Earlier this month we mentioned the Chrysler Airflow, an electric vehicle expected in 2025. That model would presage the Chrysler brand’s full pivot to an all-electric marque by 2028. However, we do not know if that leaves room for the Pacifica in PHEV form and what other models will join the Airflow.

With the Dodge Hornet and Chrysler Airflow on the way, two of Stellantis’ weaker brands get a new product. That is a much-need endorsement for two quintessentially American brands.

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Photos copyright Stellantis North America.

Matthew Keegan
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