Expert Insights

Rivian Surprises Us With Two New Models: R2 and R3

Laurance Yap
March 21, 2024
Rivian, the U.S.-based startup that makes the well-reviewed R1S SUV and R1T pickup, has launched two new models: the mid-size R2 SUV and the attractive R3 crossover hatchback. Both offer over 300 miles of range and impressive performance.
Rivian R2 and R3 parked side-by-side with cloudy skies and mountains in the background

Two More Affordable Rivians: R2 and R3

For the months leading up to its debut in early March, Rivian teased us with sneak peeks at its new, midsize R2 SUV, which was set to bring the same innovative technology and styling as the R1S to the midsize segment. But instead of just showing us the R2, the company also launched the R3, an even smaller crossover built on the same platform – which will be the smallest and least expensive Rivian. With its retro-futuristic styling, impressive range and performance, and its likely sub-$40,000 starting MSRP, the R3 stole a lot of the headlines.

Rivian R2

Rivian R2 Electric SUV: Design

But first, let’s take a look at the R2, Rivian’s all-new mid-size SUV. While it’s built on an all-new, midsize platform that’s significantly shorter than the full-sized R1S, it shares the R1’s distinctive face and styling features, and has a similar silhouette. There are some neat new features, however, including fully-powered rear glass that disappears into the liftgate to make it easy to carry all kinds of gear and provide an open-air driving experience.

Inside, the R2 is recognizably Rivian, with a simple but inviting design that reminds you of mid-century Scandinavian furniture: open-pore wood, sustainable fabrics and finishes, and a large central touchscreen for most controls. Unlike the larger R1S, the R2 is available only with two rows of seats, though the second row of seats fold completely flat to make it easy to carry gear, cargo, or even go car camping.

An exceptionally long wheelbase for a midsize SUV – made possible because of Rivian’s compact drive units and an EV-specific platform – means that rear passenger legroom is exceptional, and there is plenty of interior storage. In addition to the large, expandable cargo area, there’s also a “frunk” for additional storage.

Rivian parked under a tree with camping tent

Rivian R2 Range and Performance

The R2’s all-new platform accommodates a new, structurally-integrated battery with all-new individual cells that are more energy-dense and offer more power output from the same amount of space. Rivian claims that all R2 models will offer over 300 miles of range on a full charge. There will be a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive, dual-motor all-wheel drive, and tri-motor (one motor in front, two in the rear) all-wheel drive configurations, with the tri-motor variant able to zap to 60 mph in under 3 seconds.

The R2 will be able to fast-charge from 10 to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes. It will come as standard with the Tesla-style NACS charging plug, which will allow it to access the excellent Tesla Supercharger network, but will also ship with a standard adapter which will allow it to access the CCS ports on other charging networks, as North America transitions to the NACS standard.

R2 Pricing and Availability

The starting MSRP of the Rivian R2 is expected to be in the $45,000 range for the single-motor, rear-wheel drive variant. The first models, which will be built in Rivian’s factory in Normal, IL, will arrive on American driveways in the first half of 2026. Customers can reserve their R2 with a $100 deposit directly from Rivian’s website. Because they're made in the USA, we expect R2s to be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax incentive.

Rivian parked on top of a mountain

Rivian R3 Hatchback

The big surprise during Rivian’s announcement was actually a small surprise: the R3, which uses the same basic platform as the R2 but with a shorter hatchback body. Fusing Rivian’s futuristic face and lighting with a silhouette that looks like a 1980s Volkswagen Golf or Lancia Delta, the R3 looks fantastic – and with a starting MSRP even lower than the R2, we think the R3 has the potential to be a real hit, though we’ll likely have to wait until 2027 before we see it on U.S. roads.

Unlike the R2, which has a boxy, SUV-style shape with a long rear overhang for its large cargo area, the R2 has a truncated rear end with a sharply-angled hatchback, which gives it a sporty, athletic silhouette while still offering reasonable space and flexibility.

The R3 shares its general mechanical configuration with the R2, including the choice of two different battery sizes and three drivetrain options, with single, dual, or three motors. While Rivian isn’t making any claims yet about range, the it has said that the larger pack will achieve over 300 miles of range on a full charge.

Maybe the most exciting news is the R3X, a performance variant which looks like an aggressive little off-road rally racer. With chunky tires, extra body cladding, and a pugnacious stance, Rivian says the R3X will offer even more excitement both on- and off-road.

rivian parked on top of a mountain

Rivian: The Future

With the high-end R1T pickup and R1S SUV having received high marks for customer satisfaction, it’s great to see Rivian expanding into segments where their high-tech, high-style vehicles will be accessible to a broader audience, at a significantly lower price point. At the time of writing, the only downside to the new R2 and R3 vehicles seems to be that they are still a long way away.

All mileage is EPA-estimated.