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Rivian unveils new R2 mid-size electric SUV that should start around $45,000

The next steps in startup electric automaker Rivian’s ongoing journey were revealed on Thursday. The Irvine, California-based company unveiled its highly anticipated R2 mid-size battery-powered SUV — along with two other, closely related products. This new vehicle offers a raft of adventure-ready features in a more manageably sized package than the brand’s larger R1S utility vehicle. Icing on the cake, the new R2 is expected to start at around $45,000 when hits the road in the first half of 2026.

“We’re building a world for our kids’, kids’ kids,” said R.J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian during the R2’s livestreamed reveal. Sustainability and an emphasis on the future featured heavily in his presentation of this exciting new product.

Just like other Rivian models, the new R2’s styling is almost impossibly clean, free of superfluous creases or tacked-on trim. The overall look is incredibly handsome and sophisticated. Overall, this SUV looks like a slightly shrunken R1S, which is certainly not a bad thing.

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The new R2 looks fantastic. Photo credit: Rivian

Matching the newness of this nameplate, the R2 is also built on a freshly developed vehicle architecture, one that incorporates a structural battery pack and die-cast components. Dimensionally, this SUV is just shy of 186 inches long, making it about 15 inches shorter than the commanding R1S, something that should noticeably improve maneuverability, particularly in tight quarters. “It fits into any garage,” said Scaringe. Similarly, this SUV is a few inches curter and narrower than its sibling, with a wheelbase that’s been truncated by 5.5 inches, clocking in at 115.6. Ground clearance tops out at an impressive 9.8 inches for the R2, though that is a good bit less than the 14.9 inches the bulkier R1S is graced with.

As for powertrains, an impressive three configurations will be offered: a single-motor rear-drive model, a dual-motor all-wheel-drive variant and a tri-motor configuration for performance enthusiasts. That last option promises to deliver serious speed, 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds, which will practically feel like warp drive, though, unfortunately, no horsepower or torque figures have yet been shared for any of these drivetrains.

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This SUV is a good bit smaller than its R1S sibling. Photo credit: Rivian

Two battery sizes will be offered in this vehicle as well as the closely related R3 family. The larger of these two packs promises to deliver more than 300 miles of range with a full charge, which is a very good number for many drivers in the U.S. Scaringe said those battery assemblies will incorporate 4695 cylindrical cells that are — surprise, surprise — 46 millimeters in diameter and 95 millimeters tall. Compared to other designs, these cells promise greater energy density. Overall battery capacities have not been shared, but the vehicle will support both NACS and CCS connectors, and is expected to DC fast charge from 10 to 80% in less than 30 minutes.

Not surprisingly, there’s plenty to cover inside the new R2. With four doors and five seats, this vehicle will be perfect for families that want to go electric. Second-row legroom clocks in at 40.3 inches, while noggin space is a claimed 40.5, plenty for passengers taller than 6 feet. Additionally, the design is super slick and there are two beautiful screens on the dashboard. As with other Rivian models, proprietary software is included, though now there are gigantic scroll wheels on the steering wheel spokes for interacting with various features.

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There’s plenty of tech inside. Photo credit: Rivian

The R2 will also offer a broad suite of advanced driver-assistance technologies. These will be enabled by what Scaringe described as a “much higher compute platform” that will take information in from 11 cameras and five radar sensors. All this promises greater autonomous driving capabilities, more hands-free motoring.

Addressing criticism of the R1T pickup and R1S, this new model features much more interior storage. “And we had lots of reasons to not have one,” noted Scaringe, “but on R2 we overdelivered and we put two glove boxes in.” This change should dramatically improve the vehicle’s versatility even compared to its larger stablemates. Additionally, the second-row seatbacks fold flat for increased hauling capacity, though both front seats also fold, not just the passenger side. This creates a nearly flat surface that’s ideal for camping… provided you remember to pack a suitable air mattress.

Up front, there’s an under-hood frunk. No capacity is listed, but it looks pretty tight, at least compared to a Ford Mustang Mach-E. Still, this space is large enough to accommodate six reusable grocery bags or a rollaboard piece of luggage plus a backpack. Aside from this, the rear quarter windows pop out for flow-through ventilation while driving. The R2’s rear glass pane also rolls down, further increasing the vehicle’s versatility, allowing owners to easily carry long cargo, like lumber or a surfboard.

Further broadening the Rivian R2’s appeal, the automaker is promising to offer a wide range of vehicle accessories. Scaringe mentioned extras like a rooftop tent, easy-to-use bike racks and even a kitchen of sorts that fits in the rear cargo area.

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Unfortunately, the R2 isn’t expected to launch until 2026. Photo credit: Rivian

Borrowing from an Apple keynote, Scaringe had “one more thing” to debut. “And I’m really, really excited to talk about R2’s sibling, which we call R3.” Rivian also trotted out the R3 and R3X, though details about these vehicles, which are more crossover-like, are scarce. They’re both based on the R2’s foundation, though it sounds like they’ll be a little smaller. The R3 has a separate, flip-up glass section in the rear hatch, which you can open to different heights. This feature is designed to make accessing the cargo area easier. As for the R3X, it’s the high-performance variant, with wider wheels and tires, an extra helping of ground clearance and a potent tri-motor powertrain. Stay tuned for additional details about the R3 models.

If you like what you see here, you can reserve a new Rivian R2 right now, just plunk down a refundable $100 ($150 Canadian) deposit. Pricing is expected to start at less than $45,000 and, according to Rivian, the R3 will be even more affordable than that. Deliveries are estimated to commence in the first half of 2026, which is a long way off, despite Scaringe commenting on how they’ve pulled production at their factory in Normal, Illinois forward and accelerated the introduction timeline. Still, at first blush, this SUV looks like it will be worth the wait. “We couldn’t be more excited,” exclaimed Scaringe.

Written by Craig Cole

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