All-new vehicles coming from Dodge are relatively few and far between these days, but when they do something, they tend to go full throttle.

So, naturally, this 2023 Dodge Hornet is the quickest, fastest, and most powerful compact utility vehicle you can buy for less than 30-grand.

The worker bee here is the Hornet GT; it comes with standard all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 268-horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.

The R/T is the queen of the hive with a plug-in powertrain featuring a smaller 1.3-liter turbo-4 engine and a rear-mounted 90-kW electric motor for a totally different all-wheel drive setup than the GT, making it the first plug-in performer of any sort to come from Dodge. All engine for the front axle, all motor for the rear combine for a 288-horsepower output with a healthy 383 lb-ft. of torque. That’s enough for mid-5 0-60’s when using the on-demand PowerShot, and the 15.5-kWh battery delivers more than 30-miles of EV driving.

The R/T also gets unique 18-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, dual exhaust and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

BRIAN ROBINSON: “Dodge has, uh, 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 create the muscle car version of a small crossover.”

Though based on Alfa Romeo’s Tonale chassis, the look here is all Dodge; aggressive face, wide stance, hood venting, and full width tail lamp with an illuminated logo, a first for Dodge.

Both the GT and the R/T have a highly functional, driver-focused, and comprehensively outfitted cabin with a 12-inch digital cockpit and 10-inch touchscreen for Uconnect 5 standard.

Pricing starts at just under $30,000; with Hornet GTs beginning to swarm into Dodge dealers nationwide, R/Ts will follow a little later this spring starting around $40,000.

And we’ll have more Quick Spins…soon!