Stellantis-owned Dodge has finally unveiled the all-new Hornet, albeit in a completely different guise than the 16-year-old concept.
Shown then as a mini-MPV hatch with the Brazilian-made 1.6-litre Tritec turbocharged engine used in the Mini Cooper, the production Hornet is essentially a rebadged Alfa Romeo Tonale with the same dimensions and electrified powertrains.
Visually differentiating the Hornet from the Tonale, which is the first all-new Dodge-branded vehicle since the Durango dropped in 2011, includes Dodge’s dual-air intake grille, new headlights and the brand’s corporate logo at the rear in place of the Alfa Romeo badge.
Aside from Dodge’s signature steering wheel, the Hornet’s interior is unchanged from the Tonale, despite what the American brand describes as “distinctly Dodge” and featuring “the driver-centric design that’s a hallmark of the Dodge lineup.” . “.
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The Hornet’s most significant adaptation from Tonale lies under its skin, where Dodge has revised the suspension and installed Koni selective shocks and dampers on both available models, the R/T and GT.
Along with an electronic limited-slip differential and active torque vectoring, the R/T comes standard with Brembo four-piston calipers up front and a single rear, as well as a brake-by-wire system.
As part of the optional Track Pack available on both models, the Hornet not only gets 20-inch Abyss alloy wheels, but also adjustable dual-stage suspension dampers.
Standard alloy wheels are 17-inch on the GT and 18-inch Graphite Gray on the R/T, while the optional Blacktop package adds not only gloss-black 18-inch Abyss wheels, but also gloss-black badges, mirror caps and blacked-out light clusters .
As for the interior itself, the Hornet R/T and GT come standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster along with a 10.25-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system, and Alcantara seats as part of the Track Pack , rain-sensing wipers, Blind Spot Monitoring, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
The optional Plus package, available on the R/T and GT, adds a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system to the mix, along with a wireless smartphone charger, heated seats, red leather-stitched seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power tailgate.
Complete with the optional Tech Package, the Hornet gets Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Attention Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist and Traffic Jam Assist, which enables Level 2 autonomous driving.
In terms of power, the Hornet offers a choice of two engines rather than the Tonale’s four, namely a 1.3-litre turbo petrol in the R/T and a 2.0-litre turbo- the GT petrol engine taken from the Giulia. and Stelvio.
Dubbed the Firefly unit, used in a number of South American Fiat models as well as the Jeep Renegade, the 1.3 delivers 210kW/520Nm thanks to a 15.5kWh lithium-ion battery that feeds a 90kW electric motor.
Charged from 0 to 100% in two and a half hours using the included 7.4kW charger, Dodge claims a range of 48km with a drive mode selector that has three settings; Hybrid, EV and E-Save.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive, the R/T also has what’s called a PowerShot.
Effectively and with an overboost function, the system puts out an extra 18kW for 15 seconds by depressing both gearshift paddles and hitting the throttle as soon as the PowerShot symbol lights up on the dashboard.
On the other hand, the regular 2.0-litre GT delivers 200kW/400Nm of power sent to all four corners via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. While Dodge hasn’t revealed any top speed figures, it has confirmed a 6.5-second 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time.
Production of the Hornet, which is now available for order, will take place alongside the Tonale at Alfa Romeo’s Pomigliano d’Arco plant in Naples, with an estimated price of $30,000 (R496,065).
While that’s a no-no for South Africa, local unit Stellantis has confirmed the availability of the Tonale in the second half of 2022.