Alfa’s American cousin is best in all the suitable methods

Ah, badge engineering. It’s an economical technique to flip a Chevy Tahoe right into a Cadillac Escalade, a Hyundai Tucson right into a Kia Sportage, or a Toyota GR86 right into a Subaru BRZ. More often than not, this automotive mitosis is a profitable endeavor, leading to merchandise that don’t essentially damage the opposite’s gross sales. Typically, nevertheless, one automobile simply finally ends up cannibalizing the opposite. Which brings me to the Alfa Romeo Tonale and its American sibling, the Dodge Hornet.

I’ve just lately hung out in each of those subcompact crossovers, and whereas there are professionals and cons to the general package deal as a complete, the evident takeaway is that Alfa received the uncooked finish of the deal. The Dodge seems cooler, drives nicer, has a greater engine choice, and prices hundreds of {dollars} much less. For the struggling Italian automaker, that’s undoubtedly a disgrace.

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Okay, sure, seems are subjective, however after spending prolonged time with each, the Alfa does nothing for me. The squished little entrance finish seems drowsy, prefer it simply sank its head down for a sigh. Additionally, automakers: stop designing entrance fascias that don’t accommodate quantity plates. They exist all world wide and are required by legislation in most locations. The awkward slap-it-on-the-side workaround Alfa homeowners must do for the Giulia and Stelvio by no means, ever seems good. Ever.

This isn’t to say the Dodge is a stunner, by any means, however it’s received this little powerful man vibe that appears a lot cleaner and meaner than its Alfa sibling. Level Dodge.

About that higher engine alternative. Dodge sells the Hornet GT and GT Plus with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine that makes 268hp and 295lb ft of torque. Paired with a nine-speed automated transmission, this engine has a great deal of low-end torque and a punchy nature that makes the Hornet decently enjoyable to toss round. Commonplace all-wheel drive helps, too.

The Tonale – hey, actual fast, does anybody else pronounce this “toenail?” – solely comes with a plug-in hybrid setup, pairing a 1.3-liter turbo I4 engine with a 15.5kWh battery. Whole system output is 285hp and 347lb ft of torque, however when the battery is depleted, the gasoline engine solely produces 180hp. This PHEV powertrain is non-compulsory on the higher-end Hornet R/T and R/T Plus, however weirdly, Dodge offers its model 383lb ft of torque, accessible for temporary moments by means of the PowerShot enhance characteristic.

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Sure, the plug-in choice offers you 33 miles of absolutely electrical driving vary, however as soon as the battery runs dry, the get together’s over. If you happen to aren’t going to maintain your Tonale – or Hornet R/T – juiced up on the common, the constant and smoother energy supply of Dodge’s base 2.0-liter engine is unquestionably the way in which to go.

So far as chassis tuning is anxious, between the 2, it’s a wash. Dearer variations of the Hornet and Tonale have adaptive dampers that don’t agency up or soften sufficient to be considerable, however throughout the board, this subcompact crossover is properly tuned with above common cornering talents.

The issue? Steering. Alfa makes use of a 14.8:1 electrical energy steering tune in each model of the Tonale, whereas Dodge suits the Hornet R/T with a barely higher 14.5:1 rack. The true star, nevertheless, is the Hornet 2.0T, which has a a lot crisper 13.6:1 ratio, which means this model is extra keen to show in and it takes fewer cranks of the wheel to go lock to lock. With a great chassis below the physique, participating steering actually enhances the driving expertise, and as soon as once more, Dodge has the sting right here.

The bottom Dodge Hornet begins at $32,330 (together with $1,595 for vacation spot) whereas the Alfa Romeo Tonale is available in at $44,590 (additionally together with $1,595 for supply). Sure, the Tonale has a barely larger degree of ordinary gear, however it nonetheless has the identical static suspension, 18-inch wheels, and material upholstery because the Hornet.

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Have a look at it one other manner: a Hornet GT 2.0T with premium paint, Alcantara upholstery, 20-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, and a full driver-assistance tech suite rings up for $42,265 together with vacation spot. I’d manner, manner, manner quite have this than the bottom model of the Tonale which, once more, continues to be dearer.

Need to evaluate plug-in choices? Certain. Let’s load ‘em up. A completely loaded Dodge Hornet R/T Plus with all of the trimmings prices $53,065. A equally spec’d Tonale? $54,100. Not an enormous distinction, certain, however the one factor you’re getting for that worth is an Alfa badge.

within the Tonale? Strive the Hornet as a substitute.



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