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A skateboarder is shown riding a skateboard near a yellow 2024 Dodge Hornet for sale.

How Dodge Is Creating a New Generation of High-Performance Vehicles

Recent years have seen the Dodge brand focusing almost exclusively on muscle cars, specifically the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger. Sure, there’s also the Dodge Durango SUV––which still packs quite the performance punch within its segment––but for the most part, you opt for Dodge if you want an awesome American muscle car. The times, however, are changing, and the stricter emissions regulations being implemented have really hit the performance sector hard. One way around this conundrum, however, is going the route of electrification, and Dodge is charging full speed ahead down that avenue.

The Charger is currently being revamped as an electric muscle car, and it has been preceded by a performance-oriented electrified SUV known as the Dodge Hornet. But before you start scouring dealership lots for a Dodge Hornet for sale, you might want to learn how the Hornet fits into Dodge’s next-generation lineup and what role it occupies in the modern performance segment. It’s time to take a look at Dodge’s decision to electrify its performance vehicles for a new generation of drivers.

Dodge’s Coming Lineup of Electrified Performance Vehicles

Rumors have been swirling for a while that Dodge would be going electric with some of its vehicles. As emission standards become stricter and certain states implement more aggressive policies on what kind of vehicles will be allowed, many companies are adapting to those challenging changes by electrifying their upcoming vehicles. Dodge, in particular, is forgoing its popular and powerful HEMI V8 engines for more emission-compliant alternatives in the upcoming model years.

Dodge has recently revealed that it has several noteworthy new additions to its lineup for the upcoming years, with the most notable being the Dodge Charger Daytona. This is an all-electric muscle car that made serious waves when the prototype was unveiled in August 2022 and looks to usher in the future of the Dodge brand. The production version is expected to be unveiled later this year and go on sale for the 2025 model year.

The Charger Daytona is also rumored to be accompanied by a new gasoline-powered Charger designed to meet the EPA’s ever-stricter standards. But as of the writing of this article, all we know for sure is that Dodge seems to be testing the new Hurricane inline-six powertrain in the Challenger. Whether or not it will be fitted with a small battery pack and an electric motor remains to be seen. However, the 550 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque from the new Hurricane CAT 3 crate engine are already more than adequate for maintaining Dodge’s reputation for pursuing performance-driven vehicles.

As we wait for more details on the 2025 Charger, Dodge has given us another innovative model in the shape of the 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T. The Hornet GT made its debut for the 2023 model year, but the R/T adds an electric boost for greater performance. The Hornet has its own set of features designed for a power-hungry audience, and the decision to offer a subcompact SUV opens the Dodge brand up to a much wider variety of shoppers than the traditional Charger and Challenger. The plug-in hybrid design also makes it more accessible to buyers who may not be ready to jump to a fully electric model like the Charger Daytona.

The digital display in a 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown.

Shaking up the Market With the Dodge Hornet R/T

The 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T is one vehicle that already had its identity thoroughly ironed out before its release because it’s the second model year for this new nameplate from the Dodge brand. This subcompact SUV is designed to bring some excitement to what is generally a rather bland segment. It looks like a beefed-up hot hatch with a bit of the Dodge DNA blended in. The initial 2023 model year introduced the vehicle as an affordable subcompact SUV, but the 2024 model year brings more of Dodge’s iconic brand characteristics to the table to give it a bit more oomph.

If you followed the first model year of the Hornet, you would have noted that it came with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, making 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. This engine was paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The 2024 model year offers an upgrade in the form of the R/T and the R/T Plus trims, which boast a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. This option comes with a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s paired with a 15.5 kWh battery pack and a six-speed automatic transmission, making 288 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. You can expect it to launch from zero to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.

This new option highlights how the Hornet would be a great vehicle for anyone shopping for a practical and efficient car that also packs a punch on the road. The new R/T trims with the plug-in hybrid powertrain hone in on Dodge’s pursuit of performance vehicles. While it’s obviously not up to par with the Challenger and Charger of old, the Hornet definitely has a place among the other electrified options from Dodge that are on the horizon. As a sporty little daily driver with surprisingly potent performance, the 2024 Hornet seems to be moving in the right direction for sure.

Targeting Futurists With the Dodge Charger Daytona

Enthusiasts looking for something as powerful as a V8 muscle car but as green as a Tesla may find themselves veering toward the upcoming Dodge Charger Daytona. This two-door fastback coupe is designed to be a combination of both the Charger and the Challenger. It has the aggressive looks of the Challenger but the enhanced practicality of the Charger. It has a sleek style, a familiar but modern fascia, and very strong and obvious stylistic elements drawn from the muscle car era.

This bad boy is purely electric. There are no hybrid mechanisms announced so far, and it’s expected to offer three different power levels. The base “340” powertrain starts off strong with up to 535 hp, while the next step up is the “440” that delivers a potent 670 hp. At the top of the pack is the 800-volt “Banshee” that is rumored to deliver up to 1,050 hp, outgunning even the Tesla Model S Plaid. The trim lineup is expected to consist of the base SXT, the enthusiast-oriented GT, the performance-driven R/T, and the top-end option, which is tentatively called the SRT Banshee.

While performance is a big selling point for the Charger Daytona, and the rumored powertrains seem to indicate that Dodge isn’t moving away from its high-performance persona, what about the way the car sounds? Dodge has come up with a solution for those who still crave a beefy V8 exhaust note, and it’s called the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. This is a proprietary system designed to emulate a muscle car sound through a synthetic exhaust system that offers the digital roar of a V8. If you’re into the idea of a muscle car, want a higher performance vehicle, but also want to go entirely green, the Dodge Charger Daytona seems to be catering specifically to you.

The black and red interior in a 2024 Dodge Hornet is shown.

Pushing the Limits With Electric Performance

One thing is quite obvious with Dodge’s upcoming lineup of vehicles: the brand isn’t abandoning high-end performance at all. It is committed to making vehicles across different segments that appeal to those who like a car that can really move on the road. The Charger Daytona will still focus on satisfying hardcore muscle car enthusiasts, and we know Dodge is also experimenting with the Hurricane engine in this car. It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw a high-performance Challenger plug-in hybrid based on the crate Hurricane.

While the Dodge Charger Daytona is all-in on embracing electrification, the Hornet seems to be a true middle-ground offering. Dodge is experimenting with a more practical daily driver that now has a plug-in hybrid performance variant. If it does well, maybe we will see Dodge adopt this solution for more vehicles and improve the hybrid performance aspects to find a sweet spot between high speeds and emissions-compliant designs.

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