Rivian made a big splash in California today by revealing its next-generation R2 electric SUV. Just minutes after CEO RJ Scaringe showcased the R2, he surprised everyone with the R3 compact crossover, followed by another new model: its performance-focused, rally-styled sibling, the R3X.

"Looking at the R3, we wanted to take everything that's embodied and put it into a higher performance package, and this is something we call the R3X," Scaringe said at the unveiling event. Call it a modern take on the Russian Lada Niva 1600 from the 1980s, or the VW Golf Country, or heck, even the Crosstrek STI that Subaru never built. 

Rivian R3X

At first glance, the R3X appears like a riotous R3 with a higher ground clearance and wider stance. It has multiple visual elements distinguishing it from the R3. The model showcased had orange mirrors, two tow hooks in the front bumper—which itself looks more muscular—and it also has blacked-out side skirts.

"It will deliver a level of on and off-road performance that will get us all very excited," Scaringe said.

Speaking of off-road, the R3X's tires and wheels are the most striking elements. It appeared equipped with all-terrain tires and full-wheel covers. Rivian even released a video on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, of the R3X going sideways in the desert, which says a lot about what Rivian wants the R3X to be—a proper high-octane off-roader.

Scaringe confirmed a tri-motor set-up—although it could be a while before Rivian releases its actual horsepower, range, and battery details.

Rivian R3X

The cabin follows a similar design theme. Rivian internally calls the cabin layout "rugged playful." It seems to have anodized metal panels and several sustainable materials. There's a tan and black seat upholstery with Rivian's signature oval inserts all around. Like its R1 and R2 siblings, the rear seats fold flat.

Cabin layout-wise, nothing surprising here. There's the same hyper-minimalist approach with few physical buttons and maximum digital real estate in the form of a massive central touchscreen and a digital gauge cluster. You also get coat hooks behind the front seat backrests as well as unique straps to hold items like towels. 

If Rivian keeps up with its promise, the R3 and the R3X could end up becoming even bigger vehicles than the R2 in terms of sales volumes. The smaller and presumably more affordable R3 is what the market needs to encourage wider EV adoption, and ultimately contribute more towards emissions reduction.

Gallery: Rivian R3X

However, it's one thing to stoke enthusiasm among your fan base, and another to deliver as promised. The company is still burning millions of dollars in cash and has a long way to go before witnessing any profitability. But we cannot rule out the possibility that these new and exciting models can help it get there.

Rivian said R3X deliveries will begin after the R2, which is expected to arrive in the first half of 2026. Although Scaringe implied that the R3 and R3X will be manufactured at its upcoming $5 billion factory in Georgia, it seems like the small crossovers could be initially made in Normal, Illinois, and production could later shift to Georgia.

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