As we usher in the year 2023, the automotive industry is set to witness an array of exciting vehicle launches. The spotlight is on fully electric vehicles as automakers strive to increase their electric fleet and venture into new segments. However, despite the push towards electrification, the majority of vehicle sales still comprise gas-powered and partially electrified vehicles.
We’re particularly looking forward to the introduction of Dodge’s first-ever electrified performance vehicle, the plug-in hybrid Hornet, and its sibling, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Additionally, Toyota’s hybrid Crown is set to replace the discontinued Avalon sedan, providing a fresh option for consumers looking for a reliable and efficient vehicle.
Here are some of the cars we’re certainly keeping an eye out for this year.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Alfa Romeo’s second SUV is finally set to hit the market, nearly four years after its debut at the Geneva auto show. The production model remains faithful to the concept vehicle, which was named after an Italian mountain pass (not pronounced “toe nail”). Buyers can choose between two versions: the Q4 AWD, which comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and the PHEV Q4 AWD, which features a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine, a 90 kW electric motor, and a 15.5 kWh battery.
The Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s first hybrid-powered model, and it will also be the last. According to Larry Dominique, the company’s North American CEO, all new Alfa Romeo vehicles will be fully electric going forward. This is likely to be true for Alfa’s corporate cousin Fiat as well, which will introduce the electric 500e next fall. The Tonale’s release has been delayed due to chip shortages, but it is expected to arrive in late spring.
The Tonale is an important addition to Alfa Romeo’s lineup, as it provides dealerships with a much-needed new product in a competitive segment. The brand’s existing U.S. models, the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, both date back to 2016. Alfa Romeo has also been working hard to improve the quality of its vehicles and ownership experience, which has paid off with the brand vaulting to the top of J.D. Power’s 2022 Sales Satisfaction Index Study from ninth (out of 14 brands) last year.
Dodge’s first electrified performance vehicle, the Hornet, shares a striking resemblance to its corporate cousin, the Tonale, and is produced at the same factory in Italy. The Hornet is available with either a gasoline powertrain or a plug-in hybrid option, which offers 285 horsepower and standard all-wheel drive. While it is based on the Jeep Compass platform, the Hornet has distinct features, including a Mopar muscle machine appearance, mail-slot grille, matte black lower cladding, and a blackout treatment option.
The Hornet’s three trims include GT, R/T, and PHEV R/T, with the PHEV offering an estimated 30 miles of pure electric range. Priced under $30,000 for the base GT trim, the Hornet is set to compete with sportier crossovers such as the Mazda CX-30 and larger CX-50. Previously, Dodge had not offered any compelling small crossovers, despite selling the old Journey crossover until 2020.
BMW is set to release its first standalone M performance model in spring 2023. This five-seater luxury SUV is expected to live up to the division’s high standards with impressive specs, including 644 horsepower, making it the most powerful plug-in hybrid on the market. Later in the year, a 735-hp version, the XM Label Red, will also be available.
Equipped with a 4.4-liter V8 and an electric motor, the XM will outperform other plug-ins. It has a 27.5 kWh battery pack that can provide 30 miles of full electric range and accelerate the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Although built on a platform related to the X7, there won’t be a “regular” BMW equivalent. The XM is intended to be a halo car, demonstrating the potential of a performance SUV.
The XM starts at $159,995, with the Label Red expected to retail as high as $185,995. With this much power and impressive specs, BMW’s new SUV will certainly make waves when it hits the market.
The Fisker Ocean has been a hot topic as the first offering from Henrik Fisker’s new EV company, Fisker Inc. While pre-production prototypes of the all-electric SUV have been seen several times over the years, production finally commenced in Austria with Magna in late November.
The Ocean is priced affordably to appeal to EV enthusiasts who are interested in a relatively new and untested brand. Its four trims start at $37,499 for the Sport, and the initial batch of 5,000 first editions has already sold out, priced at $68,999. Deliveries are scheduled to begin at the start of the new year.
With recycled materials, a solar panel roof, and fully openable windows including the rear hatch, the Ocean exudes a sense of sustainability and California style. The center screen rotates and can be used by occupants during charging, showcasing the vehicle’s modern, forward-thinking, and EV-focused design. This detail illustrates how it is not a standard car that has been converted to battery power, but rather a machine specifically designed for the future of electric mobility.