Behind the Wheel

2024 Dodge Hornet R/T — Sporty Performance and Hybrid Economy

2024 Dodge Hornet R/TModel tested: 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T Plus

Engine: 1.3-liter I-4 turbo PHEV

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Horsepower: 288

Torque: 383 lb.-ft.

EPA ratings: 77 MPGE combined, 29 MPG gas, 33-mile range all-electric

Base price: $44,995

As tested: $52,305

Overview: The basic 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T is essentially unchanged from 2023, but the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) R/T Plus model is new. The Hornet R/T is a fun car to drive, thanks to a surprisingly powerful 288 horsepower and a prodigious 383-lb.ft. of torque from a tiny 1.3-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. The legendary Dodge R/T performance emblem seems out of place on a compact PHEV, but the Hornet’s performance justifies the badge.

Walkaround: The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T is sharply styled with aggressive cues reminiscent of other performance Dodges, such as the Charger and Durango. Black accents and dual exhaust tips along with the optional 8-by-20-inch, Abyss finish alloy wheels made a handsome performance-themed contrast to the Hot Tamale Red finish. The R/T badges and small “hornet” emblems were subtle.

2024 Dodge Hornet R/TInterior: Driver and front passenger space and comfort are excellent, but rear seat is snug unless the front seats are moved up. Alcantara upholstery with red accents are part of the optional track pack, and we liked the deep, supportive side bolsters although some wider-beamed reviewers have deemed them restrictive. The compact nature of the Hornet impacts cargo space as well as rear-seat legroom. Both areas are perfectly functional, just not expansive.

Behind the wheel: The Dodge Hornet R/T Plus platform shares a lot with the more exotic Alfa Romeo Tonale while costing less. Acceleration is spirited, with reported 0-to-60 times of 5.5 seconds. A fun R/T feature is called PowerShot, which temporarily boosts output by 30 horsepower when the paddle shifters are pulled simultaneously. The EPA estimates a total driving range of 360 miles, which is a big plus for a PHEV over a fully electric vehicle. The switchover between all-electric driving and gas was seamless. Handling was athletic and braking was excellent thanks to Brembo brakes.

Bottom line: The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T Plus plug-in hybrid compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) is fun to drive and has a spirited performance worthy of the legendary Dodge R/T name. It can be driven around town using just electric power or over long distances using gas. The Dodge Hornet R/T has excellent standard safety features and spacious, comfortable front-row accommodations. We liked its city-friendly compact size and thoroughly enjoyed its driving dynamics on country roads and open highways. The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T Plus PHEV is a fun, economical SUV for people who don’t need to transport an entire sports team.