Dodge Explores Going Small With Dodge Hornet
Dodge Hornet: What if Dodge Created B-Segment Car?
Unlike the Lexus concept at this year’s Geneva auto show that took safety and driving aids into a whole other dimension, Dodge explored what form a Class B entry might take in their range. Maximizing interior space and generating a cool look were far more important to this concept.
“Class B”, “B-Class”, “B-Segment” are interchangeable terms that are used mostly in the Asian and European industry to identify very small cars designed for space and fuel efficiency. In the USA, these cars may be referred to as subcompacts.
As Dodge expands its sales internationally, new segments are under consideration. Small cars are an important segment in Europe and one with some growth in the States, but Dodge does not currently have a suitable platform. The Dodge Hornet concept could be considered an audition. Dodge would like to have a Class B entry, but without a platform, they need a partner. What better way to audition than to show off what you can do?
The basics: Hornet is a front-wheel-drive, three-door hatchback with a 170HP 1.6L SOHC 16v four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Suspension is MacPherson strut in front and semi-independent in rear. For this aggressive-look concept, the design includes nineteen-inch wheels and tires and an estimated 6.7-second 0-to-60-mph time. Pedal-to-the-metal and sawing through the gears to max RPM.
Rally Inspired Styling, Dodge Attitude
Dodge designers and engineers packed American Dodge personality into a European-size B-segment car with the Hornet. Among the project goals were for a nimble, fun to drive small car with an adaptable interior. Hornet is about as wide as a C-segment car (think Ford Focus, Mercedes C-Class), enabling lots of reconfigurable interior space and a wide stance for an aggressive, edgy exterior.
The exterior says Dodge from the front, with the crosshair grille under a creased hood with a single air intake and in front of the intercooler for its supercharged 1.6L engine. The small, round LED headlight shape is picked up in the foglamps and in the side view mirrors. The front grille also incorporates brake air ducts alongside the fog lamps. This is a three-door hatchback, along the basic idea of the Mini, though taller and wider. The wheel design takes an open, angular look to expose the brake calipers, painted gold for this concept.
Dodge calls the exterior color Liquid Silver and gave the sporty-looking Hornet some Viper-inspired stripes. Though the roof includes an oversized sky-view sunroof, it is tinted blue as well as carrying the stripes.
Interior Designed for Maximum Space
Dodge’s primary concern with the Hornet’s interior was maximizing space, to which they added a functional, engineered look. Space-saving foam seats are slim, comfortable, and flexible. The rear seat is set up for three passengers in a 40/60 folding arrangement. Looking to lessons learned on minivans, though not a full Stow N Go system, the rear seats fold forward and collapse into the floor for a flat cargo area. Vertical storage behind the front seats can be created by folding rear seats rearward toward the liftgate.
Tricks Dodge uses to maximize space inside also includes bins in the driver’s-side door for the first aid kit, a closed case with carrying handle, and an open storage area. The passenger door has two bins, open and closed. Bins in both doors are removable and can be switched around. Proving Dodge is ready for any European market, a modular instrument panel is incorporated that can accommodate left- or right-hand drive. Storage space is also found in the dash in front of driver and passenger.