Since then deleted Facebook video from inside the factory showed almost identical body and interior
February 18, 2022 at 9:54 am
Through Chris Chilton
Images from a leaked video shared on Facebook appear to give us our first look at Dodge’s 2023 Hornet, suggesting the compact SUV is a re-badged Alfa Romeo Tonale.
The video has since been removed from the Alfa Romeo Club Italia page, but not before screenshots were taken showing a side view of the body at the front, while posts from the Italian forum Autopareri also show the interior, both images make very clear that Stellantis changed little to change the Tonale in the Hornet.
The exterior photos don’t give us a clear view of the nose, but we can see a few vents in the bonnet, which appear to be missing the front bump used to remove the Alfa badge. The light units look different and feature amber turn signal lenses, while the shape of the lower grille also appears to have changed.
Interestingly, the leaked Hornet appears to be riding Tonale’s iconic five-hole 20-inch wheels, which almost certainly wouldn’t appear on a Dodge version of the small SUV, and it also appears to have red Brembo monobloc calipers . does this mean we are looking at an SRT Hornet?
Related: The resurrected Dodge Hornet could come in 2022 with a plug-in hybrid powertrain
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Looking at the interior image, it once again looks like an almost 100 percent lift over the Tonale. There’s disguise over the outer vents, but the center vents, switches, console, tablet touchscreen, drive mode selector and steering wheel look identical to the replacement of a Dodge badge on the steering wheel where the Alfa logo normally sits. We can also see the same configurable TFT gauge cluster, but not the font of the dials themselves. What’s missing are the Alfa’s supercar-style paddle shifters, and it appears the dash hood above the instruments lacks the double bubble shape seen on the Tonale.
Can be for markets outside the US, such as Mexico
At this stage we have to say that we can’t even be sure that this is actually the final design for the Hornet. It could be an internal design project, or it could be a model that is being developed for sale somewhere in Mexico, but will not be sold in the US. But we’ve seen this combination of Dodge face and Alfa body before, albeit in a very different form. context that gives an unusual twist to the story.
In July 2021, when Stellantis laid out its electrification strategy and confirmed eight new STLA electric platforms, it showed a specter of an SUV that looked exactly like this Alfa-Dodge mashup, but rode on a BEV platform and was fitted with air springs. neither appears on the production Tonale.
Related: 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale lands with hybrid options, NFT technology and US sales promise
Won’t a rebadged Tonale harm Alfa Romeo’s image?
Assuming the red car in the leaked factory images is the car North American Dodge dealers will get, the fact that the vehicles look so similar is certainly potentially detrimental to Alfa Romeo. Stellantis wants to present Alfa as a premium brand and the CEO says it wants to match BMW on every level in terms of price. That would give the Tonale a US starting price of about $36,000, but Dodge dealers definitely won’t charge that.
And while it’s true that VW Group manages to pass an Audi Q5 for a Porsche Macan and a Volkswagen Touareg for a Bentley Bentagya, those cars contain enough mechanical and design changes to justify the price differences. Is Stellantis about to seriously undermine its efforts to sell the Alfa brand as a premium brand?
We know that the US will get a Tonale with a special 256 hp (260 hp) 2.0-liter non-hybrid engine and all-wheel drive, and will not be offered with the front-wheel drive hybrid engines offered to European Tonale buyers. In theory, Stellantis could then differentiate the cars by offering the smaller engine in the Dodge to give it a lower starting price.
Do you think Stellantis would make a mistake by producing an Alfa Romeo and Dodge so similar? Leave a comment and let us know.