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Dodge Hornet

Presented at the 2006 Geneva show in order to gauge European attitudes toward potential new products from the American brand, the Dodge Hornet is something surprising from the US carmaker-a small hatchback, more compact than a Clio or a Punto, albeit dressed up in an aggressive rally-inspired set of sports clothes. From the well-finished Geneva show car it was hard to tell how much of the Hornets racy looks were wired into its basic design or whether the aggressive exterior was an extravagant party frock put on specially for the Geneva launch. Either way, the Hornets imposing presence starts at the front with a dark menacing grille and twin stripes that run back over the hood, in well-understood racing style. Bold wheel arches with crisp creases and concave profiles in places separate the ambient light in a dramatic way. The waistline is high, giving the Hornet a strong overall look, helped by the machined-from-solid-looking sills. The rear also has a machined look, especially the sharp forms and the detailed features above the rear lamps.

Moving inside, the interior works in harmony with the exterior. Planar surfaces and regular geometric forms mix black and aluminum to striking effect. Blue-lit bars are used to divide the instrumentation gauges and help energize the dashboard still further. The Hornet, as one would expect from its name, is certainly not easy on the eye. Instead, it is a car that shakes up the senses, a concept car designed to create enthusiasm for the Dodge brand. Its targets are Europes youth, and in particular those following fashions in urban street culture. Parallels can be drawn with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Suzuki Swift, and even the Mini; your parents might not like it, but Dodge could be onto something big here.

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About The Author Ana is an auto enthusiast who's been actively participating in the Canadian auto scene since 1990.
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