When a silver Rivian R3 prototype rolled on stage during the automaker’s R2 reveal event on March 7, the audience’s eyes sparkled and jaws dropped, followed by cheerful whistling and whooping. Few other EVs have triggered such enthusiastic reactions in recent memory.

For car nerds, the pint-sized, angular hatchback was an ode to legendary rally names like the Lancia Delta Integrale. For regular people, the message was clear: An affordable yet highly desirable Rivian is on its way.

Gallery: Rivian R3

“I’m really excited to talk about the R2’s sibling, which we call the R3,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said during the reveal event. “We are so excited about what this [would] deliver beyond what we see in the R2.

"It takes the package and platform of the R2 and shrinks it,” he added. “It’s almost hard to define what it is, but it captures what we represent as a company.”

Currently, Rivian offers two high-end models, the R1S SUV and the R1T truck. It’s typical for automotive upstarts to introduce expensive models first that allow them to fund future affordable projects. The R2 would be accessible to a wider audience. The R3 will take that recipe further, slotting under the R2 and aiming to transform Rivian into a mass-market brand—similar to how the Model 3 worked out for Tesla.

Rivian R3 Design And Dimensions


The exact dimensions of the R3 haven't been disclosed yet, but the CEO mentioned that its wheelbase is five inches shorter than the R2’s, so it would measure around 110.6 inches. Broadly speaking, this places the R3 in the same category as the Bolt EV and the new Kia EV3.

In terms of design, Rivian was gunning for a retro-modern feel. “We need this to be our solo rally car,” Rivian design boss Jeff Hammoud told Road & Track after the reveal event. The EV should have “more of that nostalgic feeling where it looks modern, but where it looks like it’s from the future, and the past, at the same time,” he said.

The prototype's design reflects the team's vision. The two-box design exudes traditional proportions, whereas the full-width DRL and headlamps add a modern touch. They are integrated into a buttery smooth, uncluttered surface. It has the silhouette of a hatchback, but the stubby front bumper and black cladding on the sides give it a mini-crossover appearance.


That said, the rear three-quarter angle has garnered the most praise. Car designers interviewed by InsideEVs have said that the R3 evokes joy, as people probably associate it with happier times. Speaking of the past, historical models with similar rear-ends come to mind, including the first-generation Volkswagen Golf, the Russian Lada Niva, the aforementioned Lancia Delta Integrale, and the Audi Quattro.

At the rear, a sharply raked windshield merges into a scooped-out section that houses a full-width taillight, with the brand’s name embossed at the bottom. The tires fill the large wheel arches perfectly. Zooming into YouTuber MKBHD’s walkaround video also gives away the tire and wheel sizes of the prototype. It was riding on 235/55 tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels.

Rivian R3 Range And Charging


Rivian will offer both the R2 and R3 with two battery sizes, with the larger one offering an estimated 300 miles of range. The performance versions will slingshot from zero to 60 miles per hour in three seconds, which is impressively quick even by sports car standards. CEO RJ Scaringe mentioned that the R3 will also offer similar powertrain options as the R2, including single, dual, and tri-motor configurations.

The R3 would be equipped with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) port natively, so it would be compatible with the now-standardized SAE J3400 charging connector. It will also use the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector with an adapter. No surprises in terms of voltage architecture yet, but the R3 is said to go from 10% to 80% state of charge (SoC) in under 30 minutes, which isn’t too bad.

One aspect that confused the EV community was the charging port, located on the rear passenger side. In a roundtable with reporters, design chief Jeff Hammoud referenced curbside charging in European countries. "In left-hand-drive countries in Europe, we saw a lot of people charging cars on the street. You'd see charging cables wrapped over hoods to get to the other side, and we wanted to solve that," he said.

Having the port on the rear right side allowed engineers to use fewer wires and hence reduced weight and costs, Hammoud added. Even though this decision might seem practical for Rivian, it could be a problem when R3 owners pull up to V3 Superchargers which have shorter cables and are designed for Teslas, which have their ports at the rear left.

Tesla’s V4 Superchargers have longer cables, but unless that network expands exponentially (that seems unlikely with Tesla’s brutal layoffs of the entire Supercharger team), Rivian owners might be compelled to double park at Superchargers.

Rivian R3 Interior And Features


Rivian said the cockpit features abundant soft-touch surfaces, claimed to be made from sustainable and durable materials. A large infotainment screen dominates the dashboard, and the steering wheel, similar to the R2’s, includes integrated scroll wheels with haptic feedback—something Rivian says will help drivers stay focused on the road.

Practicality seems to be a big focus on the R3. It features a "flipper glass" at the rear, allowing owners to load items into the boot without opening the tailgate. The glass can be left open at different angles, in case larger items like surfboards protrude outwards.

Both rows of seats fold flat, and the mid-size platform provides enough space for a frunk. Despite the compact size, Rivian retains some of its quirky features, including dual glove boxes and a door-mounted flashlight.

Rivian R3 Price, Availability And Production

There’s no official release date for the R3 yet, but the company stated that it will enter production after the R2 goes on sale in 2026. So expect it to arrive later that year or even some time in 2027.

The R2 will start at $45,000, so the R3 is estimated to fall in the $30,000-40,000 price range. At that price, the R3 would compete with the next-gen Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Kia EV3, and potentially an affordable Tesla, among others.


In terms of production, Rivian was gearing up to build a new $5 billion plant on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. The state of Georgia even offered an incentive package worth $1.5 billion for the plant, which would create approximately 7,500 new jobs and boost local economic activity.

However, amid the industry-wide slowdown in EV sales growth earlier this year, Rivian paused the project, citing cost savings and the need to accelerate production of its current models and the R2. The R2 would now be made at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois after it received $827 million in state incentives for factory expansion.

Then there’s the question of the upstart surviving as a company till 2027. Rivian burned through $5.4 billion last year and lost over $40,000 per vehicle in Q4 2023, so surviving through the end of the decade won't be easy. But sales have been improving and per-vehicle losses have been steadily shrinking, all while Rivian sits on an enviable cash pile. 

If the brand can power through this tricky phase, the R3 will not just be a distant dream, but also a reality for thousands of fans who have been drooling over it.

Contact the author: suvrat.kothari@insideevs.com

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