2023 Dodge Hornet vs. 2022 Mazda CX-30: Sporty Small SUVs Compared

The 2023 Dodge Hornet is the American automaker’s signal to the world that it wants to conquer the lucrative small crossover market segment for the first time since, well, before that market was much. (Remember the sad Caliber? We didn’t think so.) Dodge has already surprised competitors with the staying power of its aging Challenger and Charger muscle cars, while its coverage of the larger three-row SUV market with the equally old Durango is another bright spot. Unlike when the Caliber rolled across the globe, Dodge’s Hornet will face stiff and varied competition from a stream of subcompact SUVs from Honda, Toyota, Ford, and others. But its closest small SUV competitor, at least mentally, is the sporty and stylish Mazda CX-30.

Listen to us: Both the 2023 Dodge Hornet and 2022 Mazda CX-30 offer turbocharged four-cylinder engines and are designed to appeal to buyers looking for a little street-oriented verve from their crossovers. The 2023 Dodge Hornet tries to repackage the vibe of its muscle-car siblings in a small SUV shared with Alfa Romeo (it’s a thinly disguised Tonale, if you can’t see it), while the Mazda CX -30 one of the Japanese automaker’s latest efforts is to position itself as an affordable luxury brand. Let’s see how these amplified crossovers stack up against each other.

Dodge Hornet vs Mazda CX-30: Styling

This is one area where these two crossovers couldn’t be more different. The 2023 Dodge Hornet combines the look of a Charger muscle sedan with the detailing of a Durango. The Hornet even has the same inverted trapezoidal air dam that can also be found on the front of the Charger. From the front, the Dodge Hornet comes across as a bigger, blunter object, but in a meaningful way. As long as you’ve never seen a Tonale, it will seem relatively fresh and original.

The Mazda CX-30 has a more elegant “sculpted” look that is in line with the automaker’s Kodo design language. The chrome accents on the large grille, in combination with the slim headlights and flowing surfaces, give a luxurious look, which is exactly what Mazda is going for. Lower and slimmer than the Dodge, the Mazda could almost be mistaken for a hatchback – that’s not far off, as it’s closely related to the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, albeit with slightly more ride height.

Dodge Hornet vs. Mazda CX-30: Powertrain and Fuel Economy

The 2023 Dodge Hornet is the automaker’s first car to feature its new inline engine architecture, dubbed “Hurricane”. The Hornet GT trim comes with a 2.0-liter Hurricane I-4 that puts out 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and is claimed to reach 60 mph in a fast 6.5 seconds for the segment. The R/T trim is a plug-in hybrid and mates a 1.3-liter I-4 with an electric motor, together producing 288 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. That mighty torque figure cuts the R/T’s zero to 60-mph time to 6.1 seconds. Both trim levels come standard with four-wheel drive, although the base GT trim uses a nine-speed automatic, while the R/T PHEV uses a six-speed automatic. At this time, we do not have official EPA ratings for the Hornet’s fuel economy.

The base CX-30 is motivated by Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter non-turbo engine good for 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque; those numbers are mediocre for the segment. The 2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo competes more directly with the Dodge with its Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo I-4. While the CX-30 2.5 Turbo’s 227 horsepower is significantly less than the Hornet’s, its larger displacement gives it a head start in torque over the Hornet GT, at 310 lb-ft. Both turbo and non-turbo versions of the CX-30 come with Mazda’s six-speed automatic transmission. Like the Hornet, all finishes of the CX-30 come with AWD as standard.

Dodge Hornet GT Dodge Hornet R/T Mazda CX-30 2.5 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo
Engine 268 hp/295 lb-ft 2.0L I-4 288 hp/383 lb-ft 1.3 I-4 & electric motor 186 hp/186 lb-ft 2.5L I-4 227 hp/310 lb-ft 2.5L I-4 turbo
Transfer 9-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy City N/A N/A 24 mpg 22 mpg
EPA Fuel Econ Hwy N/A N/A 31 mpg 30 mpg
EPA Fuel Econ Comb N/A N/A 26 mpg 25 mpg

Since we don’t have EPA numbers for the 2023 Dodge Hornet yet, we can’t compare fuel economy with the Mazda CX-30, which has been on the market for a while. We can look at the power numbers and easily see that the Hornet offers (for the most part) more power and torque than the CX-30 across the board. Conventional knowledge says this means the Hornet GT will likely be less fuel efficient than the CX-30, but the Hornet R/T is the wildcard with its electric motor and EV-only range yet to be determined.

Dodge Hornet vs. Mazda CX-30: dimensions and cargo space

The 2023 Dodge Hornet surpasses the Mazda CX-30 in exterior dimensions and is significantly wider. The Hornet has a 2-inch height advantage, and that higher roofline could give the Hornet a more imposing profile than the CX-30. Oddly enough, despite the CX-30 being smaller in almost every dimension, the wheelbase is actually about half an inch longer than the Hornet’s.

2023 Dodge Hornet 2022 Mazda CX-30
Length 178 inches 173 inch
Width 82 inches 70.7 inches
Height 63.8 inches 61.7 inches
wheelbase 103.8 inch 104.4 inches

Given the Dodge Hornet’s larger exterior dimensions, one might think that the Hornet’s interior is significantly larger than the CX-30’s cabin. Yet the two SUVs are almost identical in terms of interior space. The Hornet technically offers more headroom, legroom, hip room and shoulder room, but only just. Where the Hornet really takes the lead is in the cargo area in which it has a 7 cubic feet advantage over the CX-30 (with the 2nd row seats upright).

2023 Dodge Hornet 2022 Mazda CX-30
Legroom (F/R) 41.7 in./38 in. 41.7 in / 36.3 in
Headroom (F/R) 38.8 in./38.1 in. 38.1 inches/38.3 inches
Shoulder room (F/R) 55.7 inches/55 inches 55.6 inches/53.6 inches
Hip Room (F/R) 54.3 inches / 53.5 inches 54.6 inches/53.2
Passenger volume 109 cubic feet 94.1 cubic feet
Load volume (rear seat up) 27 cubic meters 20.2 cubic feet

Dodge Hornet vs. Mazda CX-30: interior and technology

Surprisingly, the interior designs of the 2023 Dodge Hornet and the 2022 Mazda CX-30 are somewhat similar. Both SUVs use simple layouts without much frills or eye-catching materials or color contrasts. The differences are in the styling of the dashboards. The Hornet’s dashboard is simple and is not molded around any of the components. On the other hand, the CX-30 dashboard continues the sculpted theme of the exterior, providing a more luxurious look, which wraps its way around the instrument panel and steering wheel, as well as the sleek central display.

As the newer of the two, the Hornet is equipped with a digital meter cluster display, while the CX-30 sticks to the traditional analog meters, albeit supplemented with bits of screen. The Hornet also offers a much larger touchscreen infotainment screen placed in the center of the dash. The CX-30 also has an infotainment touchscreen, but the way it’s placed in the dash makes it a range for touch input; Mazda also oddly locks the touch input portion of the screen when the vehicle is in motion, forcing users to turn and click a center console control button.

Dodge Hornet vs Mazda CX-30: Prices

The Dodge Hornet is currently not for sale, so we don’t have the official suggested retail price, but we estimate that the GT trim will cost $31,500 and the R/T will cost an additional $10,000. If our estimates are correct, that would mean the Dodge Hornet GT will have a starting price higher than seven of the CX-30’s eight trim levels available. Although, to be fair, only the top three versions of the CX-30 are equipped with the GT-matching 2.5-litre turbo engine.

Dodge Hornet Mazda CX-30
2.5 S $22,500
Select $24,900
Preference $27,950
Carbon Edition $28,590
Premium $30,360
GT $31,500 (estimated) 2.5 Turbo $30,500
2.5 Turbo Premium $33,100
R/T $41,500 (estimated) 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus $34,700

At the feature level, both crossovers come with similar safety packages that offer driver attention, automatic braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection.

A Track Pack will be available for the Dodge Hornet with 20-inch black wheels, two-stage valve suspension, seats with faux suede accents and aluminum interior trim. Dodge hasn’t revealed how much the Track Pack upgrade will set you back, but once we have that information we’ll provide an update. Dodge will also offer a Tech Pack with driver attention assist and active driving assist will also be available. Semi-automatic parking, a 360-degree surround camera, a power tailgate and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system (plus subwoofer) are all among the options available for the Hornet. We’ll just have to wait a little longer to see the price tag of those features.

The top-end 2.5 Turbo Premium and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus CX-30s include great features such as a power tailgate, adaptive LED headlights, a Bose audio system with 12 speakers, leather upholstery on the seats and steering wheel, and more.

So, how do the two crossovers stack up in the end? In any case, on paper, the Dodge Hornet offers far less choice than the Mazda CX-30 and its eight different packages. The plus side for Hornet buyers is that, with fewer configurations to choose from, their shopping experience should be easier. On the other hand, the CX-30’s offerings may be overwhelming, but they’re also quite affordable overall. If a buyer doesn’t mind giving up the beefed-up engine, they can get into a CX-30 for under $23,000, and even if that buyer decides they want a turbo, they’re probably still paying less than they would. do for the Hornet GT. We can’t wait to get these two sporty small SUVs together for a good test; when that happens — and final pricing comes from Dodge — we can make a final decision on which is better.

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