Dodge Launching Hornet Small Crossover, Plug-in Hybrid

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The Dodge Hornet will likely be based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale small SUV.

This summer, Dodge will unveil a new small crossover called the Hornet, available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. That news slipped out by accident last night during an unrelated event.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis let the news slip while introducing the company’s new “Chief Donut Maker.” Dodge held a competition to select a brand ambassador who will carry that title while representing Dodge at automotive events for the next two years.

North Carolina resident Preston Patterson won the role. He’ll drive a Challenger Hellcat to car enthusiast events to evangelize for the Dodge “Brotherhood of Muscle” as the company plans its transition to electric cars.

But the bigger news for car shoppers came from Kuniskis during a Q&A session at Patterson’s introduction. Kuniskis was asked if the company planned any hybrid vehicles. He replied, “I think we’ve actually even said when we get back into the small compact space this summer when we launch the Hornet, we will have a PHEV or variant of that.”

Dodge hadn’t said that before.

Probably Based on Alfa Romeo Tonale

The move has been rumored for much of the past year. If the rest of the rumors have substance, the Hornet will be based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale compact SUV, pictured above. Dodge and Alfa Romeo share a parent company in Stellantis.

The Tonale uses a 1.3-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine driving the front wheels paired with an electric motor that powers the rear set. It’s good for 272 horsepower – an impressive figure for a small vehicle. Alfa Romeo claims an all-electric range of 30 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in.

Those numbers would instantly make the Hornet an interesting prospect to many buyers. But a Dodge-branded product would likely need to be less expensive than something with an Alfa Romeo badge.

We’ll most likely know more by mid-August. Dodge plans its “speed week” marketing event the week of August 15 to coincide with Detroit’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise. That would mark the perfect opportunity to make a splash with a new model.

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