How they do it on paper

When we talk about the Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV and Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV, we should not forget that these compact crossovers are very similar. They share the same platform and design, compete directly with each other, and in the United States both will use nearly identical plug-in hybrid powertrains and even be made in the same factory. Alfa Romeo did much of the heavy lifting on this project: initial R&D, testing, design, etc had to share with Dodge as both operate under the same parent company, which is Stellantis.

The idea of ​​the Hornet

Besides fulfilling the ambition of a wider line-up, there is another reason behind the conception of the Hornet. As U.S. regulators consider company-wide emissions and fuel economy standards, Dodge, an automaker that historically thrived selling V8-powered trucks and high-performance sedans, had to come up with a relatively fuel-efficient car to meet them and avoid costly fines. According to media reports, it opted for the rebadged version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale rather than pumping billions into a brand new project. That said, let’s take a closer look at these not-so-different plug-in hybrids.

Dimensions

Image Sources: Alfa Romeo & Dodge

As you can see in the photos, the Alfa Romeo Tonale and Dodge Hornet share a similar exterior footprint. These crossovers, by almost any basic measure, will be hard to tell apart for the average consumer – other than the difference in their badging. Ultimately, they’re both compact crossovers, and it shows.

Design

In terms of design, it’s clear that both CUVs are styled to look sporty and chic rather than tough and intimidating. However, the Tonale looks bigger and more sculpted when viewed from the front, with the Hornet scoring a more aggressive-looking hood with a reinforced ‘power bulge’ and hollowed-out vents. Along the sides, Alfa Romeo’s iconic ‘five-hole’ alloy wheel design appears more exotic.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV vs Dodge Hornet RT PHEV back three quarters
Image Sources: Alfa Romeo & Dodge

The front of the Tonale is unmistakable, sporting Alfa Romeo’s signature V Scudetto grille with stylized ‘Trilobo’ elements. In addition, there are the adaptive LED Trilobo headlights with their unique “3+3” LED daytime running lights. And if the Tonale’s lights look familiar, they’re inspired by the similar artful design of the SZ Zagato and Proteo concepts.

The Trilobo inspiration can also be found in the LED taillights, which span the entire width of the rear of the Tonale and merge with the Alfa Romeo badge in the centre. The Hornet R/T strikes back with its sportier-looking red Brembo calipers and large twin exhaust nozzles at the rear. It also scores a striking gloss black finish along the side body trim and on the rear bumper.

Interior

Similar to their exteriors, the interior of these crossovers shares numerous shared design features, including the 12.3-inch digital driver display and 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment panel. Both get stitched leather upholstery, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and a similar design to the HVAC controls, along with seating for up to 5 occupants (although you wouldn’t want to fit three adults in the backseat in either one.) Other differences include the major paddle shifters, round side vents and cool design inlays on the Alfa Romeo’s dashboard.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV vs Dodge Hornet RT PHEV interior
Image Sources: Alfa Romeo & Dodge

The cabin of the Tonale also receives Alfa Romeo’s ‘DNA’ drive mode selector switch, which has been replaced in the Dodge by a traditional engine start/stop button. The Tonale has that button on the steering wheel. The latter also scores a small Italian flag that is placed just behind the gear knob in the center console. In addition, there is a possibility that the quality of the materials in the interior of the Alfa Romeo will look and feel a bit more premium.

Specifications

As mentioned earlier, these compact crossovers are built on the “Small Wide 4×4 LWB” architecture. That said, according to Dodge, some changes have been made to some key components of the Hornet to give it a slightly different personality compared to its Italian cousin.

While the Alfa Romeo Tonale will only be available as a plug-in hybrid in the US, the Dodge Hornet will also be offered with regular ICE powertrains. The Hornet R/T will share its plug-in hybrid powertrain with the Tonale. The system in question uses the FCA Group’s 1.3-litre MultiAir turbo engine and mates it to a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle.

Dimension Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV specification Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV specification (expected)
Length 178.3 inches 178.3 inches
Width 72.5 inches. 72.5 inches
Height 63 in. 63 in.
wheelbase 103.8 inches. 103.8 inches.
Payload (rear seat up/rear seat folded) 13.6 cu. ft./50.5 cu. ft. 22.9 cu. ft./50.5 cu. ft.
Empty weight 4,045 lbs. N/A
Expected 2023 Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV specs. We are waiting for official figures.

The four-cylinder petrol engine produces 180 hp and sends it to the front wheels. Meanwhile, the electric motor comes up with 90 kW (121 hp), all of which is directed to the rear wheels. Combined, the hybrid system in the Hornet R/T can produce up to 288 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft of torque. On the other hand, the combined power of the Tonale PHEV peaks at 275 horsepower.

Both CUVs are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, while a 15.5 kWh battery pack enables an all-electric range of more than 50 kilometers in the Hornet R/T. However, the Tonale’s all-electric range can reach up to 60 kilometers. When connected to a Level 2 charger using the 7.4 kW charging module included with the Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV and the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV, the batteries can be fully charged in approximately 2.5 hours .

Aspect Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV specification Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV specification
Powertrain layout AWD AWD
Drivetrain 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Number of electric motors One (behind) One (behind)
Current 275 hp 288 hp
Couple N/A 383 lb.-ft
Top speed 128mph 128mph
0 to 60 mph 6.0 seconds 6.1 seconds
Battery pack 15.5 kWh 15.5 kWh
Full electric range (EPA) 37 miles 30+ miles
Charger on board 7.4kW 7.4kW
AC fast charge time (0 to 100% SoC) 2.5 hours 2.5 hours
US Spec 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV vs. US Spec 2023 Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV

The Hornet R/T comes with PowerShot, a “class-exclusive” feature that delivers an extra 25 horsepower for 15 seconds for faster overtaking or quicker launches. Speaking of which, the Dodge hits 60mph in 6.1 seconds – the Tonale PHEV takes 0.1 seconds less to do the same. As for its top speed, the Hornet PHEV reaches a top speed of 200 km/h. However, the Alfa Romeo Tonale does have smart features such as Silent Start and e-Queuing.

Price

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV vs Dodge Hornet RT PHEV side
Image Sources: Alfa Romeo & Dodge

The Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV will arrive in showrooms in the United States in spring 2023 in two trims: R/T and R/T Plus. Their prices range from $39,995 to $44,995. Meanwhile, the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV will reach customers in the first quarter of 2023, with a starting price close to $40,000. It will be available in three trims: Super, Ti and Veloce.

Images in this story are compiled from the companies’ respective press/media portals.

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