Rivian R2 Vs. R3: Will One Be Better Than the Other? | Digital Trends

Rivian has finally unveiled the Rivian R2, its latest SUV. It’s smaller and more affordable than the popular R1S. But alongside the R2, Rivian has also unveiled another surprise – the new Rivian R3.

The Rivian R3 is even smaller and is said to be even cheaper than the R2. While the R2 is only slightly smaller than the R1S and still an SUV, the R3 isn’t an SUV at all – it instead moves into crossover territory. It’s supposed to be Rivian’s answer to cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6 and, yes, the Tesla Model Y.

However, if you’re looking at a cheaper Rivian, you might be wondering whether you should save up for an R2 or an R3. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have to wait – neither vehicle is actually available for purchase. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming about the vehicle you might want down the road. Here’s a look at the two cars side by side to help you figure out which one you should dream about.

design

The designs of the Rivian R2 and R3 are quite different; However, there are some similarities between the two, largely due to Rivian maintaining its brand identity. For example, both cars feature the oval buggy headlights that have become synonymous with Rivian. Both also have a long light bar on the back, although the light bars look slightly different. On the R2 it wraps around the edges of the car, while on the R3 it only extends across the width of the car.

Rivian

Apart from that, a lot of car design is different. The R2 is an SUV and has a boxier shape, so it could easily be confused with the R1S. However, it is not big enough for three rows of seats. The R3, on the other hand, is crossover-sized and closely resembles a rally car, with an angled rear window and a small spoiler that follows the roofline. It definitely seems related to the R2, and while one could easily confuse the R2 with the R1S and vice versa, the Rivian R3 looks completely different.

The big difference in the design is the size. The R2 is 185.6 inches long, 75 inches wide and 66.9 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 115.6 inches. Rivian hasn’t released exact dimensions of the R3, however some research from Reddit user u/tgassap has revealed that the R3 will likely be between 165 and 170 inches long. There won’t be that much interior space either.

Rivian R3X front
Rivian

Rivian also offers a performance edition of the R3, the R3X, which is even more reminiscent of a rally car. The R3X has the same overall external design as the R3, but with some more interesting color schemes. Ultimately, there will likely be multiple color schemes, but the one Rivian has shown so far is a forest green color with orange accents. It’s a super cool look.

Interior and technology

As with the exterior of the R2 and R3, there are many similarities inside the R2 and R3 – but also some key differences.

The R2 is designed for larger adventures and actually has some interesting features like the ability to fold both rows of seats And Lay the first row flat down. Rivian advertises that this creates enough space for people to sleep on an air mattress in the car. This is a cool thing and great for those who want to car camp (real glamping when you sleep in an R2!).

Interior of the Rivian R2
Rivian

The interior of the R3 and R3X is also very Rivian-typical – although there are differences between the two. The base R3 is more accessible than the R3X and offers more neutral colors. The R3X is designed for sportiness – and the model shown by Rivian features green and orange accents, a confetti foam dashboard and a tough overall look.

All cars have a large infotainment system with integrated Rivian operating system and a second display for instrument monitoring. Neither car will support CarPlay or Android Auto unless Rivian radically changes its approach to car software. Rivian said both the R2 and R3 have the radar and cameras required for Level 3 self-driving technology, allowing the driver to take their hands off the wheel and even look away from the road.

Performance

Like the R1S and R1T, the R2 and R3 are built for – or at least have – a decent level of performance Options for top performance.

Both the R2 and R3 will be available in single-engine, twin-engine or three-engine variants. The R3X will be a three-engine vehicle. However, it is currently unclear whether the three-motor R3 is just the R3X or whether there will be a three-motor variant of the standard R3.

Rivian R3 Rear
Rivian

Rivian has said the three-motor R2 and R3 will accelerate from 0 to 60 in “under 3 seconds.” However, that’s actually all we know so far. We expect the R3X to be the fastest of all the cars, but we’ll have to wait and see by how much.

Range and charging

Rivian has always been pretty strong in the areas of range and charging, and that’s likely to continue with the R2 and R3. Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific numbers, other than the fact that Rivian says both cars’ larger battery configurations will provide “more than 300 miles.” We really hope that by the time these cars are finished all of the variants have a range of at least 300 miles – if not, hopefully the shorter range models won’t be too far behind. For the R1S and R1T, Rivian has offered larger batteries over time, with the latest Max battery achieving a range of 400 miles with the dual-motor version of the R1S.

Side of the Rivian R2
Rivian

All R2 and R3 variants will come with a North American Charging Standard (NACS) port for charging, and by then so will the R1S and R1T. Charging speed details have yet to be revealed, but upcoming models will likely have a similar charging speed to the R1S, which tops out at 220 kilowatts. Hopefully they’ll support speeds of at least 250kW, meaning they’ll be able to take full advantage of most Tesla Supercharger stations. Rivian says the vehicles will charge from 10% to 80% in “less than 30 minutes.” That’s actually not that fast, especially considering Hyundai and Kia both offer cars that charge to 80% in just about 18 minutes.

Prices and availability

Price will make a big difference between R2 and R3. Both vehicles are designed to be significantly cheaper than the company’s flagships, R1S and R1T. Rivian has said that the R2 will start at around $45,000, but we’ll have to wait and see if that stays that way until Rivian starts production. Of course, this figure is for the base variant with a single model, and the price will go higher from there. Unfortunately, Rivian hasn’t provided any estimates on the price of the R3 – other than saying it will be “cheaper” than the R2. We’re hoping the car will start at around $35,000, which would be a relatively aggressive approach to making electric vehicles more affordable.

Rivian R3
Rivian

Neither the R2 nor the R3 are currently available to order. You can “reserve” an R2 for a $100 refund, but that does little more than get you a place in the queue to actually order the car. Rivian has said the R2 will be available “in the first half of 2026,” while the R3 will launch “after the R2.” It’s unlikely the R3 will be available before 2027. It’s possible that the launch will be a little later, as the R2 appears to have received quite a bit of reservations, but it’s also possible that Rivian will do its best to move forward with the release of the R3 given the amount of buzz it’s generating online has. The R3X likely won’t launch alongside the standard R3 and will instead be available at a later date.

Conclusions

Neither the R2 nor the R3 are necessarily better than the others – instead, they are different. The metrics that typically make a car “better” include things like range and performance, but we don’t yet know enough about range and charging to say one way or the other. The other thing that might make one “better” is the price – in this case the R3 is better as Rivian has confirmed it will be cheaper than the R2.

Instead, what it’s better for your The needs probably depend on the size of the car. If you want more storage space and a higher driving experience, the R2 is the better car for you. If you’re looking for a crossover car with Rivian’s design sensibilities, the R3 or R3X is the way to go.

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