There’s a lot of buzz around Dodge these days, and as usual it has something to do with performance. This 2023 Dodge Hornet is the quickest, fastest, and most powerful compact utility vehicle that you can buy for less than $30,000. Hey, it’s just the way Dodge does things.

It’s the Hornet GT that checks all those boxes with a 268-horsepower turbo-4, and it only gets better from there with a Hornet R/T and its plug-in hybrid powertrain rated at 288-horsepower and 383 lb-ft. of torque. More than 30-miles of EV range is expected.

Based on Alfa Romeo’s Tonale utility, torque vectoring all-wheel-drive is standard on all Hornets, and performance goodies such as Koni shocks and Brembo brakes are available.

“Dodge has established themselves as America’s performance brand, so entering the small crossover world could be a challenge, but for the most part, the Hornet brings it. The throttle is super aggressive, it sounds great, at times it feels like maybe there’s a little too much power there; all great things if you’re trying to make a muscle car version of a small crossover.”

Your gateway drug for modern Dodge-style American muscle will actually be built in Italy. That’s all from our First Drive from Asheville, North Carolina, but we’ll have a whole lot more with a full road test of the Hornet real soon, right here on MotorWeek.