Rivian R3 and R3X Surprise Debut: Pint-Sized EV Adventure Machines

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

This is the sort of surprise we are here for.

Rivian just spent a good part of Thursday detailing its sophomore model range, the R2. The EV company then pulled from the playbook of TV infomercials of yore with a "but wait, there's more!" The more is the R3, a smaller crossover that stunned the crowd at the live reveal.

Considering how little we found out about the R2 beforehand, we know even less about the R3. It's even smaller, sure: by how much tip to toe we don't know, but we do know its wheelbase is 5.3 inches (135 millimeters) shorter than that of the R2. For comparison, the R2's 115.6-inch (2,935-mm) wheelbase is itself 5.5 inches (140 mm) shorter than that of the R1S. Given the R3's short overhangs, we're ballparking it at roughly Volvo XC40 or Toyota Corolla Cross-sized. The R3 sits on the same modular platform as the R2.

It's an adorable little quasi-hatchback, proving Rivian's design language can translate well to different shapes. The concave tailgate of the R2 becomes more exaggerated on the R3, swallowing up the rear light bar entirely, whereas the LEDs wrap around on the larger vehicle. The tailgate features what Rivian is calling the Flipper Glass, a multi-height separate opening upper section that allows for longer items.

Inside, Rivian has kept its focus on sustainable, durable materials, with recycled plastics aplenty. Like the R2, there are two gloveboxes, and all seats fold flat for a larger camping or cargo surface. Yes, every one—presumably, the vehicles lock in Park when the driver's seat is down.

With a second "but wait" to put the ShamWow guy to shame, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe also presented out the R3X, a high-performance variant. This model features a three-motor setup, wider (and knobblier) tires, a wider stance, and additional ride height. Interior changes are substantial, with a theme Rivian calls "rugged playful" including unique colors, plus textures like cork, weaves and anodized metal.

You'll have to wait a bit to find out more about R3 and R3X; the only timeline given is that it will launch after R2, which is set to arrive in the first half of 2026.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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