Currently reading: Rivian shocks with hot electric crossover at R2 unveiling
American start-up sets Tesla in its sights with crossover trio, including three-motor, off-road-focused 'R3X'

American EV maker Rivian is gearing up to finally enter Europe with a brace of strikingly styled electric crossovers called the R2 and R3 – the latter of which will spawn an off-road-focused performance crossover.

The unexpected addition to the R2 reveal event, dubbed the R3X, was confirmed to pack a tri-motor powertrain – a configuration used by the Lucid Air Sapphire and Tesla Model S Plaid.

It wears thick-walled off-road tyres which sit prouder of the body than on the regular R3, hinting its dynamic character will be more like that of the Porsche 911 Dakar and Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, rather than conventional hot crossovers such as the Hyundai Kona N and Audi RSQ3.

The R3X was unveiled alongside the regular R3 and the larger R2 crossover, which will be the first of the three new models to arrive. 

The R2 is earmarked for a US launch during the first half of 2026 and international sales will follow shortly after.

It is pitched as a rugged five-seater “optimised for big adventures”, offering a completely flat-folding interior and a powered rear screen that slides into the bootlid for an open-air cabin, like on the Fisker Ocean.

Rivian R2 front

It is being developed with an “extreme focus” on passenger space and storage capacity, with a large 'frunk' in addition to the regular boot, as well as a raft of interior cubbies.

The R2 is sized roughly in line with the Tesla Model Y, measuring 4.7m long and 1.7m high, with a 2.9m wheelbase.

Three powertrains will be available, with Rivian aiming to offer a balance of outright performance and off-road capability. Entry-level cars will get a single, rear-mounted motor, but a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive model will also be available. The hottest variants will get the three-motor set-up from the R3X, with an additional drive unit on the rear axle.

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The two battery packs – which are claimed to have a greater energy density than that used in the existing R1T pick-up and R1S SUV  – will be capable of recharging from 10-80% in less than 30 minutes.

Rivian R2 rear

All versions of the R2 will yield more than 300 miles of range between charges, and the quickest-accelerating variants will dispatch the 0-60mph sprint in less than 3.0sec.

Pricing for the R2 will open at $45,000 (£35,300), which aims it squarely at the Model Y and the Volkswagen ID 4, given export and homologation costs for European models will probably nudge that price past the £40,000 mark.

The R2 will also major on autonomous driving functionality. It will pack 11 cameras, five radars and a more powerful on-board computer than that in the R1.

The R3 will be a much smaller, more affordable model that uses the same underpinnings and has a similar dynamic brief.

Rivian R3 front

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Its wheelbase is 135mm shorter than that of the R2, measuring 2.8m, and it appears much closer to a traditional family hatchback in profile.

Like in the R2, its interior folds completely flat to boost practicality. The rear screen can be raised independently of the tailgate, and to multiple heights.

The firm did not commit to a launch date for the R3, saying it had learned lessons from the simultaneous deployment of the R1T, R1S and EDV delivery van - each of which faced substantial delays in the launch phase.

“With R2 and R3, our obsessive goal is to stay true to Rivian’s product attributes while making our products accessible to a lot more people,” said chief design officer Jeff Hammoud.

Rivian R3 rear

The California-based outfit, founded in 2009, launched its R1S large SUV and closely related R1T pick-up truck in the US in 2021, but it is only now that the firm has confirmed plans to sell its cars on the other side of the Atlantic.

While it has confirmed plans to sell in Europe, Rivian has not yet indicated whether it will convert the R2 and R3 to right-hand drive for the UK.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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catnip 9 March 2024

I actually like the look of these, though not the sort of vehicle I would ever need. The styling is refreshing simple, without all the contrived creases and silly kicked up window lines that everyone else finds obligatory. Looks like the glass area is pretty large too, a great safety feature.

Bob Cholmondeley 9 March 2024

Rivian have developed a smaller madel to expand their market, hardly a "shock". Leave the silly headlines to the Daily Mail.

FastRenaultFan 8 March 2024
They look nice. They look very spacious too. Nice retro design to them.
TStag 8 March 2024
FastRenaultFan wrote:

They look nice. They look very spacious too. Nice retro design to them.

I have to say I've seen other photos of this car now and concluded it looks better than I originally thought. These pics have hints of Yugo and Niva Cossack. Looks E European