Rivian R3 electric crossover design influenced by iconic rally cars like the Audi Quattro

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Rivian shocked the industry after unveiling the R3 electric crossover, a smaller and even more affordable EV than the R2. But, it was the high-performance R3X that grabbed people’s attention with a modern design take on iconic rally cars of the past.

After officially introducing the R2 last week, CEO RJ Scaringe had a Steve Jobs-like “one more thing” moment, revealing the R3.

The R3 is Rivian’s take on a midsize electric crossover with “even tighter dimensions and at a lower price point than R2.” Scaringe took it a step further by introducing the R3X, a tri-motor performance variant.

Scaringe said Rivian wanted to take “everything that’s embodied” in the R2 and put it into a higher-performance package. It delivers even more dynamic on and off-road capabilities.

Rivian’s R3 instantly found fans across the internet, who compared its hatch-style design to an original Volkswagen Golf (Rabbit) or a hot hatch rally car from the ’80s.

According to Rivian’s chief designer, Jeff Hammoud, the R2 needed to “get our brand language into a smaller, more affordable price point.”

Rivian-R3X-design
Rivian R3X (Source: Rivian)

Rivian R3 design takes from Audi Quattro, Delta Integrale

Meanwhile, Hammoud wanted to “expand the definition of what Rivian is” beyond trucks and SUVs with the R3. This will help the EV maker expand into new global markets like Europe. Rivian has already announced plans to launch the R2 and R3 in international markets like Europe.

Rivian’s chief designer told Road & Track, “The brief I gave the design team was like, we need this to be our Solo Rally Car.” Hammoud explained, “So on our image boards, we had the Delta Integrale and the Audi Quattro coupe from that era.”

Rivian-R3-design
Rivian R3X (Source: Rivian)

Rather than an exclusive retro design, Hammoud wanted “more of that nostalgic feeling where it looks modern, but where it looks like it’s from the future, and the past, at the same time.”

A big part of the goal with the Rivian R3 design was “How can we do something that’s Rivian, that’s capable, but is in that indescribable sort of segment.”

“Something that you look at and you’re like, what is that?” Hammoud said. That was my first thought when I saw the R3X.

Rivian also included a “rugged and playful interior” with premium materials and clever storage ideas.

Rivian’s R2 and R3 models will be based on a new platform with single, dual, and tri-motor variants. All trims will feature over 300 miles range.

Rivian R3X (Source: Rivian/ YouTube)

Rivian is taking reservations for the R2 with a $100 ($150 for Canadian residents) refundable deposit. The R2 will be built at Rivian’s Normal, IL plant, starting in the first half of 2026. Rivian’s R3 and R3X will follow.

To reserve your R2, you can go to Rivian’s website here.

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