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A yellow 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown from the side.

Everything There Is to Know About the New Dodge Hornet

Remember old Doc Hudson, the retired race car from the 2006 Pixar movie Cars? Well, his alter ego is “The Fabulous Hudson Hornet” for a reason. The Hudson Hornet was an important NASCAR participant in the early 1950s that won 80 races within its career. What does this have to do with the Dodge Hornet, you ask? While this new nameplate revival didn’t start with Dodge, Chrysler acquired the Hornet’s developer, AMC, in 1987. Dodge’s current parent company, Stellantis, now owns the right to revive the retired name with the new 2023 Dodge Hornet.

Building a New Hive: Backstory on the New Dodge Hornet

Does all this NASCAR talk mean we’ll be seeing the new Dodge Hornet on the racetrack? This is where things get a bit more complex. The original Hudson Hornet was a full-sized racecar, but the Dodge Hornet is a little different. It’s a compact SUV, not a car, but that doesn’t mean it lacks power. In fact, the base GT trim is the most powerful SUV under 30K, producing up to 265 horsepower and hitting 0 to 60 in just 6.5 seconds. While it isn’t a direct remake of the original racecar, the new Hornet still carries power in its name.

A grey 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown from a high angle.

Performance Specs and Engines

Speaking of power, let’s talk about engines. We love the 2023 Dodge Hornet because it caters to both crowds––those who want power and those who prefer eco-friendliness and savings. This is because it comes in two different variations, the GT and the R/T. The GT offers traditional power and is great for race enthusiasts, while the R/T is a PHEV (plug-in hybrid) option that offers optimal fuel efficiency while remaining a great everyday driver.

The base GT trim is made for folks who stand with the original Hornet’s powerful design. The GT comes with a turbocharged I-4 “Hurricane” engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission that comes standard with all-wheel drive. The GT trim also comes with Sport Mode, which makes the Hornet even more track-ready with sharpened steering and tightened throttle inputs. Optional performance parts will allow the GT to produce over 300 horsepower, and upgradable dampers help stiffen the suspension. Thanks to its impressive performance specs, the 2023 Dodge Hornet GT can go from 0 to 60 in just 6.5 seconds.

Now let’s talk about the R/T trim. First, it’s important to note that while this model isn’t as powerful as the GT trim, it’s still a pretty potent option. The R/T’s “PowerShot” feature makes it reach over 285 horsepower compared to its standard 265-horsepower rating for up to 15 seconds, simply by pulling back both paddle shifters at once. So, if you need a quick power boost, it’s literally at your fingertips. This power boost is so impressive that it allows the R/T to hit 0 to 60 in just 6.1 seconds, which is .4 seconds faster than the gasoline-based GT model.

The R/T is powered by a turbocharged I-4 engine paired with a battery-electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. It also includes standard all-wheel drive. This model also offers a 30-mile all-electric drive range and, like all great Stellantis-owned hybrid models, includes three different drive modes: Hybrid Mode, Electric Mode, and E-Save Mode. Thanks to these modes, you get to choose how much gasoline and battery power you want to use and when.

Design and Comfort

Given the fact that we’re talking about a Dodge vehicle here, looks are clearly prioritized almost as much as power is. The 2023 Dodge Hornet is no exception to Dodge’s track record for sporty designs. This model comes with a chiseled exterior that is smaller and slimmer than the larger Durango. By comparison, the Hornet’s front end looks most similar to the Dodge Charger. It includes at least seven different exterior paint colors, including Hot Tamale, 8 Ball, Acapulco Gold, and more.

Now let’s move to the interior. Black upholstery with red stitching is standard no matter which model trim you choose; however, higher trims like the GT Plus offer standard leather upholstery along with the red stitching. Red leather interior is optional, and Faux-Suede interior comes with the “Track Package” upgrade. Dodge is also set to release a GT Plus and R/T Plus trim level. While we don’t yet know everything about each trim level, this wide selection provides plenty of variety in both style and features.

Technology and Safety

Tech and safety are front-and-center on the new Dodge Hornet. All 2023 Hornet models come with a standard 10.3 Uconnect 5 infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch digital cockpit screen. Other standard features include Amazon Alexa, and Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you’re an Amazon Alexa user, you can use remote controls at no additional cost, remotely starting your engine and controlling the door locks from afar. You can upgrade your Hornet to include wireless device charging and a better fourteen-speaker Harman-Kardon speaker system. Heating seating and a heated steering wheel are available as upgrades as well.

Safety features include standard Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Protection, which will automatically stop the Hornet when a person or cyclist is detected. It also includes a standard Lane Support System to help keep you centered in the correct lane, which is especially handy during longer trips. Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Path is also standard. You can upgrade the Hornet via the Tech Pack to get Level 2 autonomous driving. This system includes Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Control, Traffic Jam Assist, Intelligent Speed Assist with Traffic-Sign Recognition, and Driver Attention Assist.

A black and a grey 2023 Dodge Hornet are shown driving side-by-side.

Pack the Meanest Sting

Let’s get real for a second. Hornets are said to have the most painful stings, making them quite powerful among the “bee” hierarchy. Just like the original Hudson Hornet, the new 2023 Dodge Hornet’s name describes it well––this model is very competitive in its field. When you want a great everyday SUV that can still pack a mean punch when you need it to, the new 2023 Hornet is your best bet. It’s very customizable, thanks to a large trim variety, package options, and a plethora of available mods and parts.

We especially love the Hornet, not just for its power but for its affordability and impressive standard features. It includes cool technologies that most models require extra dough for, like remote vehicle controls, a large infotainment screen, and Blind Spot Detection technologies. You can still experience tons of extra add-ons if you’d like, but we love that even the “basic” features are far from average. Spending less yet gaining more is important in today’s vehicle market, where the trim ladder can get expensive fast.

General affordability is also key here. Although there are at least four different Hornet trims available, you can get everything you need for just around $30k with the base model––speed, technology, safety, and style. Upgrade your Hornet to access a fuel-efficient and eco-friendly model with the R/T or R/T Plus for some impressive PHEV action and the highest 0 to 60 acceleration rating. Whether you want to pay tribute to Doc Hudson or you’re just looking for a good deal, the 2023 Dodge Hornet is well worth the investment.