New Dodge Hornet to Be Based on Alfa Giulietta

September 26th, 2011

Dodge Alfa Hornet, front

The transformation has finally begun: Dodge is dropping the dreadful Caliber, and in its place comes a new car, probably named the Hornet and based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

The photo above (by KGP Photography) shows a car with something like the Giulietta shape, though the front-end treatment is new. Absolutely anything would be better than the Caliber, which Kurt Ernst nominated “worst domestic car of the past decade.” But FIAT appears finally to be bringing something truly worthwhile to the American market.

According to various web sources, the car will come in 4- and 5-door versions, with a FIAT 1.4-liter MultiAir engine producing 168 hp or, for the lead-footed, a 232-hp, 1.8-liter turbo, used in the Giulietta QV. The car is likely to have either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta, frontThe U.S. introduction of Alfa models has been pushed back until 2014, so to the extent that the new car derives from the Giulietta (which won second in Europe’s Car of the Year contest), the machine should be a winner on this continent.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta interiorFor a series of good photos of the Giulietta, go here. And check out the interior shots. If the upcoming Hornet is anything like this, it will provide serious competition for cars like the Ford Focus and VW Golf.

According to a French site, the car will be built at the Belvedere, Ill., plant. It may appear in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show before going on sale in early 2012.

To the extent that the new car is based on the Giulietta, I’m assuming it will be priced near the high end of its market segment. Even so, this could be the beginning of the Chrysler resurgence we’ve been waiting for.

I can’t imagine there are many Caliber fans out there. If you are one, have we mischaracterized your car?

—jgoods

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  1. john
    September 27th, 2011 at 15:03 | #1

    I saw a test mule built @ Belvidere Sept. 2011 While working in plant No name afixid to car but this car in article is the same car.

  2. Randy
    September 26th, 2011 at 17:11 | #2

    It’s hard to improve on the styling, so no doubt Chrysler will manage to trash it and make it look like one of it’s other soul-less vehicles. Too bad, Alpha is making some great cars.

  1. October 24th, 2011 at 13:11 | #1
  2. December 7th, 2011 at 14:02 | #2