Rivian unveils R2 electric SUV: surprises with cheaper price and a ‘one more thing’

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Rivian has unveiled the R2 electric SUV, its next-generation electric vehicle, and there were a few surprises despite some leaks before the unveiling.

We also got a very interesting “one more thing” moment.

We already knew a great deal about the R2 thanks to a few leaks over the last week.

The leak, which came straight from the code on Rivian’s website, mentioned a range of “up to 330 miles”, a starting price of “$47,000”, an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, and “coming in 2026”.

Today, Rivian held the actual unveiling event, and we saw the R2 in full for the first time. It’s our first complete look at the design, and an interesting update at the specs and pricing compared to the leak.

Rivian R2 Design

In terms of the design, if you are familiar with the R1S, the car is going to look very familiar to you.

Rivian has clearly decided to stick with its design language, which has already been successful with the R1S, the best-selling vehicle over $70,000 in the US.

Rivian is doubling down its main design differentiator: its vertical headlights.

R2 has a significant front trunk, or frunk, that appears to be of significant size:

One of the main new exterior design features is a roll-down rear window enabling larger objects to fit in the back.

The rear quarter windows can also open at an angle for better aerodynamic performance with airflow:

The charge port is on the rear passenger side as you can see in the picture above.

Electrek’s Jamie Dow was able to open it after the unveiling event – showing only a NACS connector in there.

As for the interior of the Rivian R2, there are a few interesting features. For example, you get not one but two gloveboxes:

The response that RJ Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, received from the crowd after this announcement was surprisingly enthusiastic.

Another difference from the existing R1S/R1T design is the removal of the speakers in the doors, leaving more space for storage, and of course, it wouldn’t be a Rivian without a flashlight:

The interior design does look sharp and similar to what we are already used to with the R1S/R1T, albeit a little less luxurious, which is unsurprising.

Rivian also showed that the back seats and both front seat fold completely flat:

When it comes to the cockpit, Rivian is leveraging the existing design and user interface of the R1S/R1T with a slightly different twist for the more compact R2.

However, the front seat does seem like a bigger downgrade from the very luxurious situation that you would find in R1S/R1T

Rivian R2 Specs

In terms of specs, the Rivian R2 is delivering on virtually everything.

Rivian announced over 300 miles (483 km) of range for all variants, which will include single motor RWD, dual motor AWD and tri-motor AWD.

The leak from Rivian’s website earlier this week did mention “up to 330 miles” of range.

The tri-motor version will get from 0 to 60 mph in “less than 3 seconds”, which is bringing the SUV into supercar territory.

As for the dimensions, the vehicle is virtually the same size as the Tesla Model Y, the best-selling vehicle in the world. It’s pretty clear what market Rivian is going after here.

Here’s a size comparison with the R2’s bigger brother, the R1S:

Rivian also announced hands-free and attention free autonomous diving on highways coming to the R2.

That would make the vehicle level 3 self-driving.

Now, Rivian didn’t talk about timing for that. It’s not clear if it’s going to be available at launch or through future software updates, but the automaker did release the planned hardware suite:

Rivian is also planning a series of new accessories to enable more adventure with the R2.

The R2 is also enabled by a new vehicle platform powered by a new 4695 battery cell format:

Tesla has been pioneering the use of large cylindrical battery cells in its vehicles with the 4680, which has been replicated by several other automakers.

Rivian is going a step further with an even bigger 4695 cell – 15 mm taller than Tesla’s.

Rivian R2 Price and Availability

The earlier leak suggested a $47,000 starting price for the R2, but at the unveiling, RJ actually announced a starting price of $45,000. That’s a nice surprise.

If that’s before incentive, which it sounds like it is, it is a very aggressive price – making the vehicle competitive with several other electric SUVs in the segment, including the previously mentioned best-selling car in the world: the Model Y.

Rivian aims to bring the vehicle to market in “the first half of 2026”. RJ said that Rivian is accelerating the R2 program timeline by starting production at its existing Normal, IL, factory rather than the upcoming Georgia factory, which RJ insisted is still in the plans.

Electrek’s Take

This hits the mark on many levels. It has great pricing for the specs and many different powertrain options to suit everyone’s needs. A few differentiating features and

I know some are not pleased with the design – calling it a carbon copy of the R1S, but it’s a proven successful design language and it’s nothing new for companies to keep with a strong design that carries across its lineup. Think of companies like Volvo.

Honestly, the biggest negative of this vehicle is that it can’t come soon enough. 2026 is still 2 years away, and the market can change a lot during that time.

But Rivian needs that time to get its house in order and show that it can produce the R1S/R1T profitably before moving in to cheaper vehicles.

Speaking of cheaper vehicles, RJ had a Steve Jobs “one more thing” moment at the R2 unveiling.

He also unveiled the Rivian R3 and R3X: a smaller hatchback with a similar design as the R2, and its performance sibling with wider wheels and a more aggressive design presented as its own model.

Pricing and availability were not released for those models.

I do really like the R3. It’s kind of a Gremlin mix with an IONIQ 5. The R3X has clear rally car vibes.

That said, I do get worried about Rivian spreading itself thin with 2.5 new vehicle programs.

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