Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown parked near several people.

The 2024 Dodge Hornet Is Worth the Buzz

Choosing a new car comes down to two simple questions: what is your budget, and what auto class would fit your needs best? Maybe you are looking for a sporty car with a little legroom, and you have a budget of $40,000 or less. If that’s the case, then you know to stay clear of the kinds of cars James Bond would drive. Instead, consider a car like the 2024 Dodge Hornet, which exudes a “man of mystery” essence but without the high-end price tag and with some extra cabin space.

Hitting the scene for this model year, the Dodge Hornet is the answer to a need most people didn’t even know they had; it’s a sporty, sassy, made-to-impress crossover with great fuel efficiency and, admittedly, loads of swagger. The 2024 groundbreaker has also made its splash with a buffet of trims to choose from, starting at the more affordable level and working its way up to “maybe if I put in some overtime” prices.

The 2024 has four trim levels, starting with the GT; the GT Plus is next up, followed by the more luxurious R/T, and finishing off with the R/T Plus. All trims are all-wheel drive and allow for four passengers plus the driver. Because the Hornet is a crossover, not a sedan, it boasts a little more functionality for towing and hauling. A crossover is a compromise between a sedan and an SUV, providing the maneuverability of a sedan and the utility of an SUV.

The taillights of a yellow 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown from the rear.

Performance vs Performance

One of the most notable differences between the GT and R/T trims is that the R/T sports a hybrid system, while the GT trims do not. So what does this mean exactly? Let’s break it down and compare their performances…

The GT and GT Plus are both equipped with an inline-four Hurricane4 Turbo engine. Turbo engines have the potential to produce more power and fuel efficiency thanks to their compact size. For mileage, both the GT and GT Plus trims get up to an estimated 21 MPG in the city and up to 29 MPG on the freeway.

The Hurricane4 is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This more traditional setup means smooth shifting and reliable performance. Producing 268 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque, the GT is considered to have the fastest top speed in the crossover segment, with a top-out at 140 mph.

Moving to the R/T trims, the inline receives a battery backup for an extra boost—literally. This extra spark bumps the R/T up to 288 hp and a whopping 383 lb-ft of torque. To get the most out of your Hornet, the R/T trims offer three distinct drive modes that allow you to customize your driving experience.

Drivers can choose Electric mode, which switches to electric driving, saving gas and minimizing environmental impact. In this mode, drivers can expect up to 32 miles of electric-only driving if the Hornet is at full charge. When in this mode, the vehicle tops out at 84 mph, which is plenty for highway driving. On the flip side, drivers can choose e-Save mode, which focuses on using gas rather than electricity.

There are several options to choose from when in eSave mode. One option is Passive eSave mode, which simply saves the battery power, utilizing gas only. The other option offered is Active eSave mode, which provides the battery with additional charge while the vehicle uses gas to function. Regenerative braking is one way the Hornet receives an additional charge, using the energy from brake friction to fill up the 15.5-kWH battery.

Hybrid mode is the third and final drive mode option. Drivers get the best of both worlds by utilizing both gas and electricity for optimal performance and efficiency. The end result is an EPA-estimated 360-mile total drive range that combines engine and electric motor for reliable and affordable transportation.

The black and red rear interior of a 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown.

What’s on the Inside?

The 2024 Hornet has an edge about it, which is amplified when you step inside. Varying appointments in blacks and reds maintain an almost anti-hero vibe across the board. Sleek lines, fancy tech, and bold contrasts set the tone. Every Hornet is equipped with an impressive infotainment touchscreen that has a 10.25-inch wingspan, and this screen is placed at an angle so that safety and convenience take priority.

The GT offers the most basic interior options, which is not surprising since it is the most cost-effective trim. The upholstery is cloth and leatherette, and the seats use manual adjustments, which is sufficient. Dual Zone Air Conditioning is a nice addition to the GT, allowing for both rows to modulate their comfort levels. Beyond these, the GT is not flush with luxuries. However, it has a good amount of advanced safety features, which is more important than a decked-out interior.

The GT Plus adds in a bunch of extra conveniences and comforts, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to spend a little more and, in exchange, get a lot more. Additions, like heated and ventilated front seats, are standard on the GT Plus, along with a bunch of power adjustments to modify cushion tilt, lumbar, and more when driving or riding shotgun. The Plus also receives an upgraded sound system.

A few more add-ons include a built-in navigation system and remote entry and remote start for easy access. The navigation even includes voice activation, which is an especially nice touch. Voice Activated Controls are available for other features on the GT Plus as well. All-in-all, the GT Plus is an excellent option if you want prime perks without a ridiculous price.

The R/T has many of the same extras as the GT Plus but removes a few features. The front seats are heated but lack ventilation, which is a boon in colder climates. Voice Controlled Built-In Navigation and Voice Activation features are also removed, but these features are added back in the R/T Plus, along with a premium sound system and a few other sweet extras.

When it comes to safety, all four trims come standard with a few important features. Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, and Brake Assist are the main ones; these are important for any driver, but especially anyone who may be new to the road. Thankfully, safety tech is becoming more advanced with time, and many companies are recognizing the importance of including these features as standard.

This Hornet Won’t Sting Your Wallet

The Hornet seems to be this perfect combination of comfort and convenience mixed with Dodge’s style and energy. All four trims are great options, from the more frugal GT to the lux R/T Plus. The base GT starts a tad over $30,000, which is reasonable—but if you expect an assemblage of luxuries, you are out of luck. But don’t fret because, for a paltry five grand more, you can add a bunch of those extras with the GT Plus.

If fuel efficiency is a priority for you, then you better be prepared to spend a bit more. The R/T starts at a bit over $40,000, and although it has more features than the base GT, it isn’t as loaded as the R/T Plus; that premier trim starts at around $46,000 but offers the conveniences and comforts, along with the bonus of being a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). If paying close to half a hundred grand for a car isn’t in your budget, no sweat—the GT trim has you covered.