Rivian R3 First Look

The compact crossover will be the all-electric automaker's smallest and most affordable offering.

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Slotting in at the bottom of the rapidly expanding Rivian lineup, the automaker's new R3 model will anchor its electric vehicle range. An angular roofline makes the R3 look more like a car than the company's blocky R2 and R1S SUVs, though its high seating position means you should see over typical passenger cars in traffic.

Information about the new Rivian R3 as well as photos were recently released.

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R3 Is Rivian's Take on a Compact Crossover

The R3 uses the same basic platform as the R2, only with about 5 inches removed from its wheelbase. As a result, the R3 has tighter overall proportions and a smaller footprint than the BMW X3-sized R2.

The front-end design of the R3 is virtually identical to that of the R2 — including an underhood storage area referred to as a frunk — but the rear of the new electric vehicle (EV) deviates from Rivian's typical blocky styling. Instead of a vertical tailgate, the R3 employs a sloping hatch that includes a pop-open rear window that Rivian calls flipper glass. Both the liftgate and pop-open glass are power operated, and the flipper glass also features user-selectable height adjustments to accommodate a variety of cargo.

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Inside the R3 you'll find a new interior design that's shared with the R2. Highlights include a new steering wheel with haptic controls and a pair of under-dash gloveboxes. The gauge cluster is all digital, and there's a large center touchscreen to handle vehicle controls and infotainment.

The R3 offers seating for five via front bucket seats and a rear bench. All of the seats fold flat, providing an open floorplan for either cargo or in-car camping.

Equipped with 11 cameras and five radar sensors, Rivian says the R3 will be capable of Level 2 hands-free driving through the use of the company's Driver+ driver assistance system.

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R3 Offers Choice of Three Powertrains, Two Batteries

R3 buyers have plenty of options when it comes to configuring their crossover's powertrain.

In base form, the R3 is motivated by a single motor driving the rear wheels. For those wanting more capability, the step-up all-wheel-drive (AWD) model adds an electric motor at the front axle. Rivian will also offer a tri-motor AWD setup with dual motors at the rear. Rivian says the latter will be able to scoot the R3 from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds.

Buyers will also be able to choose from a couple of battery packs. The standard unit will deliver an unspecified range, while the larger option will allow the R3 to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge. Both packs are fast-charger capable, meaning the R3's battery can go from a 10% to 80% charge in about 30 minutes when hooked to a Level 3 charger.

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X Marks the Spot When It Comes to R3 Performance

Sitting atop the model range is a performance variant that's badged as the R3X. It features a standard tri-motor powertrain along with a few significant upgrades over the regular R3: a redesigned front bumper with integrated tow hooks, additional ground clearance, bigger wheels and tires, and a wider track. The R3X is identifiable by its orange accents rather than Rivian's typical splashes of yellow.

Those hardware upgrades are complemented by a revised interior that features weaved upholstery and materials that include cork and anodized metal.

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R3 Will Be the Most Affordable Rivian When It Makes Production

As of March 2024, Rivian has not announced how much the R3 will cost, but the company says it will be less than the $45,000 R2. Likewise, Rivian hasn't announced when the R3 will enter production, stating only that it will be sometime after the R2's launch in early 2026.

The automaker indicated it will accept R3 reservations prior to the model's on sale date.

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Drew Johnson
I have been a professional automotive enthusiast since 2007, featured on several nationally-recognized sites. I attended Miami University, where I earned a business degree. Car nut at heart.