6.8 / 10

Design | Comfort | Tech | Performance | Safety | Fuel Economy | Pricing | FAQs

– Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Dodge is moving in a new direction. Long gone are the days of V8 muscle cars and monster SUVs, and soon we'll see a fleet of more affordable and efficient options from the American automaker. That starts in part with the new Hornet SUV.

As Dodge's first serious alternative to compacts like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, the Hornet has a ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, enticing styling, and a pretty nice cabin all things considered. But on the flip side, the Hornet falls flat in a few key areas like cargo, comfort, and equipment. Those pitfalls keep this SUV out of contention with some of the top dogs. 

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Quick Stats 2023 Dodge Hornet GT Plus
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
Output 268 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
Drive Type All-Wheel Drive
Base Price $30,735 + $1,595 Destination
As-Tested Price $41,710
On Sale Now 

Gallery: 2023 Dodge Hornet Review


  • Exterior Color: Hot Tamale
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Wheel Size: 20 Inches

The Hornet looks nice in an Italian sort of way (cough, Tonale, cough). Slim headlights punctuate either side of an ultra-narrow upper grille, while a larger grille at the base of the bumper gives the soft-edged SUV a meaner face. The handsome Hot Tamale exterior paint is an extra $495 or the awesome Acapulco Gold pictured here is $595, and opting for the Track Pack on this GT Plus model ($2,995) tacks on 20-inch wheels, red-painted brake calipers, and beautiful new Alcantara seats inside. [Editor's Note: Hornet GT pictured in Acapulco Gold.]  

Those black-and-red Alcantara buckets are the highlight of the interior, but there are lots of other high-quality bits elsewhere. The weighty metal trim on the steering wheel and the shifter feels excellent to the touch, while the leather that stretches across the dash and onto the door panels is premium with nice stitching. And the layout as a whole is very driver-focused, with most key features angled toward leftward with a solid partition between you and the passenger. 


  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
  • Cargo Capacity: 27.0 / 54.7 Cubic Feet

Once again, the Alcantara seats are the highlight. Not only do these chairs look good, but they’re also extremely comfy. The butt and back support is excellent and there’s just enough bolstering to keep you contained, but not so much that it feels overbearing. My only complaint is that the seating position is too tall.

Beyond that though, the Hornet has a harsh ride and an unsettled chassis; I have to constantly wrestle with the steering wheel just to keep the SUV centered in the lane. Highway speeds betray obvious wind and tire noise, and even around town the engine is too buzzy.

In terms of roominess, the Hornet has a moderate amount of headroom and decent legroom in either row, but among the worst cargo space of a competitive set that includes the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Kia Sportage. It’s worse even than some smaller SUVs like the Ford Bronco Sport. 

  Headroom Legroom Cargo Space
Dodge Hornet 38.8 / 38.2 Inches 41.7 / 38.0 Inches 27.0 / 54.7 Cubic Feet
Ford Escape 40.0 / 39.3 Inches 42.4 / 40.7 Inches 37.5 / 65.4 Cubic Feet
Chevrolet Equinox 38.2 / 36.9 Inches 40.9 / 39.9 Inches 29.9 / 63.9 Cubic Feet
Honda CR-V 38.2 / 38.2 Inches 41.3 / 41.0 Inches 39.3 / 76.5 Cubic Feet
Kia Sportage 37.8 / 38.0 Inches 41.4 / 41.3 Inches 39.6 / 74.1 Cubic Feet
Toyota RAV4 37.7 / 39.5 Inches 41.0 / 37.8 Inches 37.5 / 69.8 Cubic Feet

Technology & Connectivity

  • Center Display: 10.3-Inch Touchscreen
  • Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes

One big advantage the Hornet has is an abundance of standard technology. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 10.3-inch touchscreen are the two biggest standard screens in the class. The Uconnect 5 infotainment system that manages both of them is just okay; it’s a little laggy and cluttered.

But the list of standard features includes satellite radio, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as charging. Plus the Hornet has an excellent standard sound system too, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon setup. 

Performance & Handling

  • Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
  • Output: 268 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
  • Transmission: Nine-Speed Automatic

The Hornet’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder packs a healthy 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That powertrain is paired to a quick-shifting nine-speed automatic that is a welcome reprieve from the all-too-common CVT, and standard all-wheel drive is an enticing thing to have – especially for owners that regularly deal with inclement weather. 

There’s a fair amount to be said of the Hornet in corners, as it’s an above-average handler for the class. The steering has nice weighting and solid feedback, and it offers quick, direct inputs when you flick the Hornet hard into a corner. The dual-mode suspension with the optional Track pack offers a nice transition between sporty and sportier, but there’s still a fair amount of body roll, compared to the tighter, nimbler, and still better to drive – in my opinion – Mazda CX-5


  • Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
  • NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
  • IIHS Rating: Not Rated  

The Hornet has a handful of standard safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind spot monitoring. But if you want level 2 equipment like lane-centering, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition, you will have to pay extra for the Tech Pack Plus ($2,345). Doing so unlocks an admirable safety suite that makes highway cruising more comfortable with automatic steering, acceleration, and braking inputs.

Fuel Economy

  • City: 21 MPG
  • Highway: 29 MPG
  • Combined: 24 MPG 
  City Highway Combined
Dodge Hornet 21 MPG 29 MPG 24 MPG
Ford Escape 27 MPG 34 MPG 30 MPG
Chevrolet Equinox 26 MPG 31 MPG 28 MPG
Honda CR-V 28 MPG 34 MPG 30 MPG
Kia Sportage 25 MPG 32 MPG 28 MPG
Toyota RAV4 27 MPG 35 MPG 30 MPG


  • Base Price: $30,735 + $1,595 Destination
  • Trim Base Price: $37,330
  • As-Tested Price: $41,710

At $32,330 to start with the $1,595 destination fee included, the Dodge Hornet is on the pricey side for the segment. Granted, it is the only SUV in the class with standard all-wheel drive, but for comparison, a base 2023 Ford Escape starts at $28,995 with destination and even the Honda CR-V is $29,705, both with standard front-wheel drive. But the Escape, RAV4, and others crest $30,000 with all-wheel drive added. 

  Base Price (2023)
Dodge Hornet $32,330
Ford Escape $29,485
Chevrolet Equinox $27,995
Honda CR-V $29,705
Kia Sportage $27,205
Toyota RAV4 $29,610

The GT Plus model tested here is an even pricier proposition at $37,330, and with options, this particular car costs $41,710. The $2,245 Tech Pack Plus is an add-on worth every penny considering the amount of active safety equipment it adds, and the $2,995 Track pack is a pricey proposition that might be worth it for the dual-mode suspension alone. But if you prefer a more relaxed drive, save the $2,995 and stick with the fixed setup.

In general, the Hornet is a pricey proposition and lacks some of the basics you want of a small SUV. Cargo space is limited, adaptive cruise control is optional, and the ride feels unsettled. There are far better options to be had in this segment.

Competitor Reviews


Is The New Dodge Hornet Fast?

For a compact crossover, the Dodge Hornet is pretty quick. It has a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Is The Dodge Hornet A V8?

No, the Dodge Hornet has a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or an optional plug-in-hybrid powertrain.

What Platform Is The Dodge Hornet Based On?

The Dodge Hornet shares a platform with the Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV.

2023 Dodge Hornet GT Plus

Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
Output 268 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
Transmission Nine-Speed Automatic
Drive Type All-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH 6.5 Seconds (est.)
Maximum speed 140 Miles Per Hour
Efficiency 21 City / 29 Highway / 24 Combined
Weight 3,715 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 27.0 / 54.7 Cubic Feet
Towing 2,000 Pounds
Base Price $30,735 + $1,595 Destination
Trim Base Price $37,330
As-Tested Price $41,710
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