Car Review: Dodge unleashes the Hornet in a new world without the V8, but it still manages to have fun

Dodge Hornet R/T Plus
The Dodge Hornet R/T Plus still manages to be fun without a big V8. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

The first all-new Dodge in some time is a departure from the usual large cars and three-row SUVS we’re used to seeing from the car maker.

The next era for Dodge launches with an old name: the Hornet. This new Hornet is much different from the 1960s original. There is no V8 and a small 1.3L turbocharged four-cylinder engine doesn’t sound like much. However, this Dodge Hornet R/T Plus also packs an electric motor and, when combined, there is 288 hp moving this crossover with ease. This plug-in hybrid can get 30 miles or so of EV driving before the little gas engine takes over. The new Hornet is based off an Alfa Romeo so the driving dynamics will surprise you with its sporty nature. It handles very well for a crossover and I enjoyed driving it on back roads.

The Dodge Hornet R/T is a handsome crossover that leans more performance vehicle and less off-road ready machine. With an aggressive lower front air dam and air vents in the hood, this Hornet R/T Plus is the sportiest version of the crossover. My ride was further bolstered with 20-inch wheels, Red Brembo calipers and blacked-out trim. This version says sport softer than previous Dodge vehicles that shout it.

Hop inside the Hornet R/T Plus and you’re greeted by a sportier-themed interior than most of the small crossovers on the market. The leather/Alcantara seats prove comfortable, and they hug you nicely. Even for its smaller size, back seat riders have a good amount of space of leg and headroom. The cool, big wheel and lower profile tires seem to allow more road noise on the highway then Hornets with the smaller 18-inch wheels. There’s no hassle with the audio and NAV system with an easy-to-use touchscreen and the latest version of the Uconnect system.

Cost: $46,400; as tested $53,430

MPG: 77 mpge in 287 miles. I managed 34 mpg on gas only in 127 miles.

Options: $495 Gray Cray exterior paint; $2,345 Tech Pack plus; $2,595 Track Pack; $1,595 destination charges

Safety: Forward collision warn plus; adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go; LaneSense with lane keep assist; automatic high beams; ParkSense front and rear with stop; automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; blind spot and cross-path detection

Things to know: The latest Dodge, a small premium crossover, plugs-in for better performance and to use less gas for the first 30 miles.


  • Plug-in hybrid that adds fun without a big V8
  • Upscale interior means this little crossover is a pleasure to spend time in
  • Shares sharp styling and dynamics with pricier Alfa Romeo version


  • With the Hemi V8 on the way out, this is the Dodge performance crossover now
  • Gets pricey when you add options and higher trim levels
  • Not as large as other Dodge models

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up