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Dodge Hornet PHEV provides segment jolt

HEAD OF THE HIVE: Fast Dodge Hornet offered in two flavours, ICE and PHEV, with sporty R/T variant available.

US brand announces new generation of performance with 2.0-litre plug-in power


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18 Aug 2022

ON THE same day Dodge announced the demise of it’s big block Hemi-V8 powered muscle cars, the iconic US brand announced a new generation of performance vehicles with a choice of 2.0-litre turbo-petrol ICE power or a plug-in hybrid option – with a PowerShot boost feature on the latter.


Called the 2023 Dodge Hornet, the vehicle is a small/medium size SUV or Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) in Dodge-speak.


A two model AWD range comprises “Head of the Hive” Dodge Hornet R/T and the entry level Hornet GT which Dodge claims to be the quickest, most powerful utility vehicle under $US30,000 ($A43,270).


The Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is the first electrified performance vehicle from Dodge and is the most powerful utility vehicle in the segment with 212kW and 520Nm and offers almost 50km of all-electric range via a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery.


The Hornet R/T PHEV’s powertrain comprises a 1.3-litre, turbocharged, all-aluminium engine – part of the Stellantis Global Small Engine (GSE) family – which includes third generation MultiAir technology that improves combustion efficiency by adjusting valve lift and timing.


An electric induction motor powers the rear axle; the 90kW electric motor can deliver 250Nm of torque from zero rpm. Power is further optimized by a 15.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack, fitted with a refrigerant gas cooling circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature.


A starter generator delivers torque to the engine belt, aiding in dynamic response and recharging of the battery. A high-power inverter and 7.4kW charging module allow for a full battery charge to be reached in approximately 2.5 hours using a Level 2 charger.


The R/T PHEV system is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.


A Sport mode for the Hornet R/T PHEV is performance focused and accessible by a dedicated button on the centre console, unlocking sharper throttle response, optimised shift schedule, access to the hybrid system’s optimised power and torque curve, and a tighter steering wheel feel.


“Dodge Hornet disrupts the fast-growing CUV segment, building buzz with a distinctive Dodge combination of muscular styling wrapped around best-in-class standard performance from a multi-energy powertrain roster and a swarm of class-exclusive performance features,” said Dodge in a statement.


Going further, the Hornet R/T PHEV holds extra “sting” in reserve, ready to be unleashed through the PowerShot feature that provides a boost of 18.5kW and delivers instant torque.


Available only for the R/T, the PowerShot feature shaves a second off the normal 0 to 100km/h times by boosting power and acceleration using bursts of extra power deployed by the battery and electric motor. It provides 15 seconds of extra power and can be repeated after a 15-second cool down period.


PowerShot is activated by pulling both steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters and performing a pedal kick down. The system checks battery charge and temperature levels before performing a PowerShot function.


The more conventional Dodge Hornet GT is propelled by the Hurricane4 engine, an ICE 2.0-litre, turbocharged inline four cylinder that is the segment’s most powerful petrol engine at 200kW and 400Nm. It is hooked up to a nine-speed auto transmission.


At the new model announcement event in Pontiac, Michigan, Dodge displayed a GT GLH (Goes Like Hell) Concept, which showcases available Direct Connection performance parts upgrades for Hornet such as lowering kit, free flowing exhaust and bigger wheels.


“The Dodge brand’s electrified transformation has left the starting line, with the all-new Dodge Hornet R/T representing the first electrified performance vehicle from Dodge,” said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.


“The Dodge Hornet is poised to jolt the mainstream compact utility vehicle segment with looks, feel and performance that are unmistakably Dodge.


“Hornet shakes up the status quo with aggressive Dodge styling, the most power in the segment from our multi-energy line-up, the best driving dynamics, a full line-up of segment-exclusive performance features, the best standard technology, as well available Direct Connection factory-backed performance upgrades.


“And this is just the start of the Dodge brand’s electrification journey,” he said.


The Hornet features distinctive Dodge DNA to its looks including bonnet and front fascia design elements. The bonnet features integrated heat extractors for a performance-focused appearance while the front also incorporates a “mail slot”-style grille opening sculpted into the fascia.


A new exterior Hornet badge on the front guards celebrates the revival of the Hornet name — first used on the famed Hudson Hornet in the 1950s and again in 2006 as a popular Dodge concept vehicle.


It joins current Dodge badging such as Scat Pack, Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye.


Hornet R/T rolls on 18-inch Graphite Grey alloy wheels (the GT features standard 17-inch Silver alloy wheels). A Blacktop package, available for both R/T and GT, brings to life an automotive version of a “murder Hornet” featuring a blacked-out look to the alloy wheels, gloss black badging and mirror caps and other cladding parts.


A Track Pack offering the most performance-oriented configuration and is available for both R/T and GT. It includes 20-inch Abyss wheels with additional performance and interior features.


Inside follows a driver-focused design that is described as a “calling card” of the Dodge brand vehicle line-up.


Premium interior touches include Alcantara seats with an embroidered Dodge Rhombi logo included on the Track Pack option. Leather seating is standard for the GT Plus and R/T Plus variants, and Dodge made certain to offer optional red leather seats for those seeking more Dodge attitude on the inside.


Hornet R/T PHEV drivers can select from three hybrid driving modes Hybrid Mode, Electric Mode and E-Save Mode.


The vehicle also features a regenerative braking feature that recovers kinetic energy and stores it in the battery as well as an e-Coasting function, activated during throttle release that allows for shorter stopping distances and additional energy recovery.


Ride and handling characteristics on Hornet are optimised with premium components such as Koni frequency selective damping shock absorbers and Brembo four-piston front brakes.

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