Rivian R2 Comes along as Smaller, More Affordable Electric SUV

Jackson Wheeler
7 Min Read


  • 2026 Rivian R2 revealed, promising a $45,000 starting price and a choice of single, dual, and tri-motor layouts.
  • The R2 will sit below the R1S in Rivian’s lineup when it arrives, offering a choice of two batteries, both of which will offer over 300 miles of range.
  • The model will feature a structural battery pack and will offer SAE Level 3 capabilities, allowing for eyes-off operation thanks to 11 cameras and 5 radar sensors, in addition to other tech.

Rivian took the wraps off the R2 this week, revealing its third consumer-aimed electric model after the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV.

Intended to be a smaller version of the R1S, the R2 will effectively play the role of the smaller and more affordable SUV in Rivian’s lineup, inviting those seeking a nimbler vehicle and a less pricey entry into Rivian ownership.

“A huge part of what we’re building has been built around safety,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said during the reveal.

“The R1T and the R1S achieved that.”

As expected, the R2 did indeed turn out to be shaped like a slightly smaller version of the R1S. The basic exterior design of the R2 had hardly been a mystery to industry watchers over the past year, with this week’s reveal only confirming what many industry analysts generally expected from the model.

Scaringe showed off the model’s features, including the folding second and first row seats, two gloveboxes instead of one (the R1 lineup had zero), separately opening rear windows, as well as quarter windows that will also pop open for natural air circulation.

The R2 is intended to offer just as much adventure capability as Rivian’s earlier models, the company stressed, so it won’t be a purely in-town EV.

a person standing next to a white carView Full Gallery

Rivian

The R2 will feature a shorter wheelbase compared to the R1S, of course.

The R2 will sit atop a newly developed platform, Scaringe revealed, one that will represent a new approach for the automaker.

“The battery pack in the floor actually makes up a big part of the vehicle’s structure,” Scaringe said.

What’s more, the R2 will be offered in single-motor RWD form, as well as in dual- and tri-motor layouts.

“The R2 starting price will be $45,000, and you can reserve one starting today,” Scaringe said.

The tri-motor setup, Scaringe noted, will feature two motors in the back and one in the front, promising 0-to-60 mph sprints in “well under 3 seconds.”

But Scaringe did not mention horsepower figures for the three variants, or the respective ranges of each.

Perhaps it’s a little too early for those details, especially since the latter is up to the EPA to decide.

“All motor combinations achieve well over 300 miles in range,” Scaringe added.

When it comes to tech, the CEO said the R2 will offer SAE Level 3 automation thanks to 11 cameras and 5 radars, allowing drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road.

The eyes-off-the-road ability is the important part, as that’s what separates Level 2 from Level 3 automation, with the latter allowing drivers to look away from the road for long stretches.

But Scaringe did not indicate when and where these features would be permitted, as it remains a state-to-state matter at the moment, and actually what’s been keeping most of the European automakers from offering such systems stateside.

a white car parked in a showroom with people sitting on the floorView Full Gallery

Rivian

A panoramic roof will be one of the R2’s features, in addition to a separately opening rear window that will slide down into the tailgate.

Curiously enough, the CEO called the upcoming system “self-driving,” borrowing Tesla’s controversial (and less than accurate) way of referring to its gamut of Level 2 systems.

However, given the promised ability of drivers to take their eyes off the road, Scaringe was believed to be referring to SAE Level 3 capabilities.

When it comes to price, the R2 should certainly live up to the billing of being the affordable model, with Scaringe revealing the planned starting price as well as the availability date.

“The R2 starting price will be $45,000, and you can reserve one starting today,” Scaringe said, adding that deliveries will start in the first half of 2026.

The R2 will be built in Normal, Illinois, while Rivian is readying a second factory in Georgia to produce other models.

“We were able to achieve that accelerated timing by leveraging our production capabilities in Normal,” Scaringe noted.

But Scaringe wasn’t done revealing cars today, with the R3 and R3X taking to the stage next.

Will the R2 be the automaker’s volume model once it arrives in 2026 with a starting price of $45,000, or will the R3 eventually take on that role? Let us know in the comments below.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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