All the Best Dodge Compact SUVs

The 2023 Dodge Hornet will be the company’s first compact SUV since the Dodge Caliber was discontinued in 2012. Click here for more!
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
As of 2022, Dodge has only ever offered three vehicles that could be considered to be compact SUVs: the Dodge Raider, Dodge Nitro, and Dodge Caliber. None of these models stood the test of time, but for the 2023 model year, Dodge is reentering the compact crossover/SUV game with the all-new Dodge Hornet.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet will be the first Dodge vehicle available with a hybrid powertrain, setting the stage for the upcoming electrified future of the company’s lineup.
Thinking of ordering yourself a new Dodge Hornet?
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2023 Dodge compact SUV models

Dodge will be offering the 2023 Hornet in two powertrain flavors: GT and R/T. The non-hybrid GT models are expected to drop sooner than the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) R/T versions. The Hornet will share a platform with the more luxurious
Alfa Romeo
Tonale, which will be available with the same two powertrains.
Each Dodge Hornet model will be available with a Track Pack options package that adds 20-inch wheels, Dual Stage Valve Suspension, and Alcantra sport seats. The Tech Pack option will provide semi-autonomous driving capabilities.

2023 Dodge Hornet GT ($29,995 MSRP)

The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT should be the entry-level model, sporting an affordable price point and 265-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Car and Driver
seem to think that there will be an even more affordable SXT trim, but this claim seems generally unfounded.
One thing’s for sure—the Hornet appears to be offering plenty of value, priced about $8,000 lower than the comparable
Mazda CX-5
Turbo which gets 256 hp from its similar engine. Dodge claims that the Hornet GT will be the fastest and quickest SUV under $30,000.
Highlights of the Hornet GT include:
  • Generous helping of standard safety features, including cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
  • Standard WiFi hotspot
  • Standard all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with Uconnect 5
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility
Weaknesses include: 
  • High-horsepower non-hybrid might not get great fuel economy
  • All-new models always have their unexpected issues
  • Built on the same chassis as the Jeep Compass, which gets mediocre reviews

2023 Dodge Hornet GT Plus ($34,995 MSRP)

If you want to pay another $4,000 for some extra goodies, the Hornet GT Plus is the model for you. It gets the same powertrain as the regular Hornet GT, but it comes standard with extras like leather seating and an upgraded Harman/Kardon 14-speaker stereo system.
Other extras available for the GT Plus include a wireless charging pad for your phone and an improved list of driver-assistance features including lane-keeping assist.
Highlights of the Hornet GT Plus include:
  • Standard navigation system
  • Power liftgate
  • Standard ventilated/heated front seats and heated steering wheel
  • Power front seats w/ seat memory
Weaknesses include:
  • Track Pack performance upgrade isn’t included with higher trim option
  • Are the extra convenience features worth the extra $4,000?

2023 Dodge Hornet R/T ($39,995 MSRP)

The R/T powertrain will be a plug-in hybrid that combines a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a 90 kW electric motor. The total combined horsepower offered by this powertrain will be 285. It’ll be managed by a six-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive.
The Hornet R/T will be able to drive up to 30 miles on electric power before needing a charge. And for the driving enthusiasts, the hybrid drivetrain can be harnessed for its PowerShot function, which provides a 25-hp boost that can last up to 15 seconds.
Highlights of the Hornet R/T include:
  • PHEV allows for more performance and more fuel efficiency
  • Includes all of the additional standard convenience features from the GT Plus
  • Hybrid powertrain is versatile and features Hybrid, Electric, and E-Save (electricity-saving) Modes
Weaknesses include:
  • We’ll believe it when we see it—R/T models will arrive later than the GT
  • First Dodge hybrid will likely come with its unwelcomed quirks
  • Tech Pack and Track Pack not included
  • Likely won’t qualify for federal EV tax credit
MORE: The 2023 Dodge Hornet: New details revealed

Used Dodge compact SUV models

Dodge Nitro

Used price range: $4,000 to $10,000
Dodge Nitro
was produced for the 2007 to 2011 model years, based on the
Jeep Liberty
. It didn’t survive very long, but it’s since proven itself as a reliable used crossover model. What was once considered an over-priced, run-of-the-mill compact SUV model in a world dominated by the Honda CR-V is now a prime example of the old “just don’t make ‘em like they used to” adage.

Dodge Caliber

Used price range: $2,500 to $7,000
While the
Dodge Caliber
was never marketed as an SUV specifically, it definitely deserves a mention alongside many of today’s “fastback” compact crossover models. The Caliber sport wagon was offered with all-wheel drive and provided plenty of space for both passengers and cargo. It was produced around the same time as the Dodge Nitro, from the 2007 to 2012 model years.

Dodge Raider

Used price range: $1,500 to $10,000
The “Raider by Mitsubishi for Dodge” is a proper classic oddity! It was a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and it was offered for model years 1987 to 1989. Funnily enough, Mitsubishi was also selling its own rebadged version of the Pajero in North America at the same time—the Montero. 
The Dodge Raider is a rare, forgotten gem of automotive history, so if you can find one in good condition, you’ve struck gold! While most compact SUVs will come with four doors, a rear liftgate, and a solid amount of passenger space, the Raider was only available with three doors (including the door at the back). A legendary cult classic, the Dodge Raider is indisputably the coolest Dodge compact SUV—at least until the Hornet arrives.

Why hasn’t Dodge made very many compact SUVs?

The most likely reason that you don’t see very many Dodge SUV models at all is because of their partnership with Jeep. Rather than creating models that will compete in the same class as Jeep’s genre-defining SUVs, Dodge has tended to stay away from producing these models, focusing mainly on their
models, along with the
Dodge Durango
midsize SUV.

How to save on Dodge insurance

One thing that the new Dodge Hornet has going for it is a great suite of standard safety technology, enough to have a solid positive impact on your car insurance rates. As new compact SUVs are designed more and more meticulously to actively avoid accidents, these vehicles are assessed to be lower risk to insure. But the car insurance savings don’t need to stop there!
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