Dodge Teases Its Electric Future, Honoring the Internal Combustion Engine Muscle Machines That Supported the Brand for More Than a Decade

The Dodge division of global auto concern Stellantis is finally adding some much-needed fresh product to its mix, even as it prepares for the last hurray of two current models.

New for 2023 is the Dodge Hornet, a compact commercial vehicle that is expected to bring more sporty flair to a segment with some highly functional, but not particularly high-performing vehicles. Among them the popular and well regarded Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Dodge counts on the Hornet’s capabilities as its main selling point and as the connective tissue of the company’s historic muscle-car DNA. (The Hornet shares a platform with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, with both vehicles produced in Italy.)

Building on its performance heritage, Dodge offers two variants, both with standard four-wheel drive.

The Hornet GT is powered by a 2.0-litre Hurricane 4-cylinder turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 265 horsepower. The Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid has a 1.3-litre three-cylinder turbo engine and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels; net power is 285 horsepower. (The R/T has a unique PowerShot feature that delivers an additional 25 horsepower in bursts of up to 15 seconds. According to the company, the maximum all-electric range is 30 miles.)

Dodge’s marketing aside, this isn’t an obvious runaway achievement in the category. The Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid is rated at 302 horsepower and the plug-in version of the Hyundai Tucson isn’t that far behind at 261.

Dodge is taking orders for both models. The GT is expected to arrive in showrooms by the end of the year and the R/T in the spring.

In another nod to its performance roots, Dodge Hornet will offer owners additional parts through the Direct Connection program, which is available at select dealers.

While the Hornet R/T is Dodge’s first electric vehicle, more are on the way. The day after production of the Hornet was announced, Dodge unveiled its new Charger Daytona SRT Concept, which, if it went into production, would be the automaker’s first battery-electric vehicle.

The concept is powered by what Dodge calls its 800-volt Banshee four-wheel drive system. Details and specs were not released, although the new car would outperform a 707-horsepower gasoline-powered Charger Hellcat, the company said.

One of the more unique features of the concept – aside from channeling the 1968 charger’s styling – is the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust, which allows the normally whisper-quiet EV to produce engine sounds similar to that of its gasoline-powered counterpart. Dodge said the industry’s first feature will produce 126 decibels of noise it describes as “tactile, bone-shaking.”

In comparison, a loud exhaust from a combustion engine vehicle could be about 115 decibels.

The Charger and Challenger

Stellantis is also investing in its Ontario manufacturing facilities to build new electric vehicles, including the Brampton plant that builds the current Dodge Charger and Challenger, and the Chrysler 300.

By any measure, these vehicles are real dinosaurs: the current Charger went into production in 2011, while the Challenger is even older and made its debut in 2008. models that honor the history of the brand.

One example is the Challenger Black Ghost which pays tribute to the name of a black Challenger who roamed Detroit’s street racing scene in the 1970s. Plain black, the Black Ghost features a Gator grain vinyl roof and an 807 horsepower version of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8.

For the other Last Call model line, Dodge is immersing itself in its historic colors — hues that first appeared on its muscle cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as Plum Crazy, B-5 ​​Blue, and Sublime.

The Last Call models will be sold by dealers on a first come, first served basis and each will bear a plaque that reads “Last Call” along with the inscriptions “Designed in Auburn Hills” and “Assembled in Brampton “.


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