Rivian R3 and R3X: funky electric crossovers with rally styling

March 08, 2024 by

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The new R3 and R3X are the smallest vehicles yet from US EV manufacturer Rivian, and look set to offer big performance as well as eye-catching styling

  • Rugged crossover launched alongside R2 SUV
  • Rivian R3 a similar size to Volvo XC40, Kia Niro EV
  • High-performance R3X promises 0-62mph in less than three seconds
  • Adventurous features include opening rear window
  • Range of more than 300 miles on a charge
  • Accessories include roof tent, bike racks and a travel kitchen

The new Rivian R3 has been announced, at the same event where Rivian unveiled the R2 SUV. While the R2 is a direct snipe at the likes of the Tesla Model Y, the R3 is smaller and more stylish and is bound to challenge cars like the Volvo XC40 and BMW iX1.

Blurring the lines between SUV and hatchback, the R3 has plenty of ground clearance and oversized alloy wheels with rugged body cladding, but is significantly smaller than the R2 or Rivian’s existing R1 lineup and has a sloping tailgate giving in the silhouette of a family hatchback.

The R3 has also spawned Rivian’s first high-performance model – the R3X. It’s based on the regular R3, but uses a three-motor setup and promises performance to rival supercars with 0-60mph dispatched in less than three seconds.

Rivian R3 styling

The R3 stands out from other small crossovers thanks to Rivian’s minimalist design language and eye catching lights. The front of the car features distinctive ‘stacked’ LED headlights which merge with a full-width lightbar.

The car’s smooth sides aren’t interrupted by door handles, as Rivian has fitted pop-out affairs. Meanwhile at the rear, there’s another full-width light bar and the ‘Rivian’ moniker spelled out across the tailgate. To aid practicality, the tailgate glass opens separately from the rest of the boot.

The R3X takes the R3’s chunky stance and beefs it up even further, with wider wheels and tyres, more ground clearance and cool dark alloy wheels. Red highlights also appear on the door mirrors and wheel arches.

Rivian R3 interior

Inside, it’s very simple – like the R1 series and the R2. The dashboard is dominated by a wide touchscreen display, but there’s also a display for driver information. Physical controls are limited to the column stalks and a pair of toggles on the steering wheel that can move in three dimensions to control various items within the car.

The choice of materials in the R3 is based on sustainability and ease of cleaning, while the R3X has an interior Rivian refers to as ‘rugged playful’, using interesting materials like cork.

Both are very practical, though. There are two gloveboxes, and thanks to a very long wheelbase rear legroom is said to be exceptional. The rear seats fold totally flat, and there’s also a useful ‘frunk’ that’s ideal for cable storage.

Rivian R3 batteries and motors

Battery capacities haven’t been announced yet but like the R2 we’d expect the R3 to be offered with standard or long-range batteries, with the latter achieving well over 300 miles of range on a single charge. Fast-charging of 10-80% in under 30 minutes has also been promised and is pretty much par for the course.

Rivian will offer the R3 with single, dual and tri-motor setups, while the R3X will be solely available with the latter. The tri-motor models will be capable of 0-60mph in well under three seconds.

When can I buy one?

Production of the Rivian R3 and R3X won’t start until after their bigger brother, the Rivian R2. That’s set to come to Europe in 2026 and the UK sometime after that, so we wouldn’t expect to see the Rivian R3 or R3X in Europe before 2027. Expect a starting price that undercuts the R2s $45,000, though.

If you can’t wait that long, you can check out our pick of the best electric SUVs that you can buy right here.

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