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Saturday, July 2, 2022

2023 Dodge Hornet leaked, with tight Alfa Romeo Tonale links

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Dodge’s upcoming mid-sized SUV has been leaked, and it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Alfa Romeo Tonale.

A video of what appears to be a pre-production vehicle, taken at Stellantis’ Pomigliano d’Arco plant outside Naples, was uploaded to Facebook and then taken down – but not before users of the Autopareri forums got a chance to take some screenshots.

Though these shots don’t show the full vehicle, they appear to reveal a vehicle with similar proportions to the Tonale.

The new model is rumoured to wear the Hornet nameplate, though it’s worth noting the last Dodge rumoured to use the Hornet name ended up being called something else (the Dart).

The slim headlight openings resemble those of the Alfa, but they don’t flank a triangular grille.

Instead, there’s a slim horizontal opening like that of a Charger or Challenger, while there’s also a different-looking front bumper and a unique bonnet with vents.

The wheels appear identical to those of the Tonale, however this is likely a prototype – seeing a Dodge with Alfa’s famous “telephone dial” wheels would be like seeing an Alfa with Dodge’s crosshair grille.

Inside, the dashboard and centre console appear identical to the Tonale, which features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system running Uconnect 5.

Even the steering wheel of this prototype is identical to that of the Tonale, apart from a Dodge badge.

Dodge has previously confirmed a plug-in hybrid was joining the Dodge line-up in 2022, and confirmed it would be a new model for the brand.

The Tonale will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain: a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, an electric motor driving the rear wheels, and a 15.5kWh battery pack.

System output is a claimed 205kW and electric range is a claimed 60km on the combined cycle. The 0-100km/h claim is 6.2 seconds.

The Alfa Romeo will also offer a 190kW turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which seems a shoo-in for Dodge given the brand’s performance image.

The Australian-spec Tonale won’t offer either of these powertrains when it arrives in the first half of 2023.

Instead, it’ll use a turbocharged 1.5-litre Miller Cycle engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system. Total system output is 120kW of power, and it’ll be available exclusively with front-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Tonale is understood to use a modified version of the Jeep Compass’ platform.

Alfa Romeo claims the Tonale has the most direct steering ratio in the class, comes with Brembo braking, available multi-stage dampers, targeted automatic wheel braking in corners, and MacPherson strut suspension front and rear.

It’s still rather unusual that Dodge would introduce an SUV that appears so similar to an Alfa, considering the latter is ostensibly a premium brand.

What makes this especially puzzling is that Alfa Romeo will introduce the Tonale to the US market. It’s unclear just how differentiated these models will be in terms of price, specification and exterior design.

Alfa Romeo was outsold by Dodge by more than 10-to-1 in the US market in 2021, so the odds are good the Hornet will sell in greater volumes than the Tonale.

In terms of SUVs, Dodge currently sells only the Durango, a three-row SUV based on the outgoing WK2-series Jeep Grand Cherokee.

It discontinued its venerable Journey in 2020.

The Hornet name was last used by Dodge on a 2006 concept car, previewing a light hatch/MPV that would have slotted under the Caliber.

Should the Dodge Hornet closely resemble the Alfa Romeo Tonale, it’ll be an unusual but not unprecedented linking of two Stellantis brands.

Under the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Chrysler and Lancia were linked together due to their quasi-premium positioning, with Chrysler models sold as Lancias in Europe and Lancias sold as Chryslers in the UK.

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