Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cross-Atlantic Ambitions

Dodge puts buzz in the European B-segment

By ANDREW LUU AutoWeek Published 02/15/06, 8:23 am et

Hornet is a venerable name among American cars and in pop culture—Hudson Hornet, AMC Hornet, even The Green Hornet. So what better moniker to carry Dodge’s ambitions across the Atlantic and into the heart of the European marketplace?
This Hornet concept, which debuts at the upcoming Geneva motor show, goes after the small, spiffy and economical European B-segment. The hunched down, wide-bodied, front-wheel-drive hatch will run 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, thanks to a single-cam 1.6-liter supercharged four-cylinder that generates 170 hp and 165 lb-ft. The engine mates to a six-speed manual transmission.
While performance is important to Europeans, practicality reigns supreme in this class. The trendy interior makes the most of its compact dimensions with the front passenger seat and the rear seats all capable of folding forward to provide a flat loading bay.The rear seats track backward almost nine inches to increase legroom, and all seats use space-saving foam that is slimmer than average. Numerous storage areas, driver-side beverage cooler, a fold-out table and even a first-aid kit are also on tap.

Dodge is mum on Hornet’s production potential, but the company will gauge the Geneva buzz to determine whether the Hornet stings or gets swatted.

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