How the Rivian R2 compares to the Tesla Model Y

Rivian debuted the R2 electric crossover on Thursday, promising a $45,000 starting price and a range exceeding 300 miles when the compact crossover goes on sale in 2026. Will that be enough or will it be too late to dethrone the bestselling electric car in the Tesla Model Y?

Here’s how they compare, based on what we know now. 

Compare size and style of the Rivian R2 and Tesla Model Y

Rivian R2

Rivian R2

2023 Tesla Model Y

2023 Tesla Model Y

The R2 is 185.6 inches long, 75.0 inches wide, and 66.9 inches tall, which makes it 15.2 inches shorter overall than the R1S three-row SUV. The wheelbase is 5.5 inches shorter so it’s sized like a compact crossover, similar in dimensions as the Tesla Model Y. It has a ground clearance of up to 9.8 inches, so Rivian steers it toward off-road use. 

The Model Y measures 187 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, 64 inches tall, and it has a ground clearance of 6.8 inches (6.2 on the Performance model). At 115.6 inches, the R2 has a wheelbase that’s 1.8 inches more than the Model Y, which suggests the R2 might be roomier inside for passengers. As for rear legroom, the Rivian offers 40.3 inches to 40.5 in the Model Y; by either spec, it’s a roomy rear seat. Yet, Telsa offers a cramped third row to seat up to seven passengers total in the Long Range AWD model. 

The Model Y is wider and lower in height than the Rivian R2, and it has a blobbier look to it.  Whereas the Model Y slips into that curvier, rounded profile common in electric vehicles embracing aerodynamics, the Rivian R12 retains the boxy proportions of the R1S and other traditional SUVs. If it follows the R1S, it will have bona fide off-road capability. 

The Rivian R2 wears the look of its siblings with boxy ends and a headband of lights running across the front fascia and over oval headlights that look like robot eyes. It looks like a smaller R1S, with body color C-pillars and blacked out B-pillars. The snub rear sits at odds with a relatively long nose, which, like the Model Y, houses a front trunk. 

Rivian R2

Rivian R2

Rivian R2

All five seats in the second and front row of the R2 fold flat to make a floor that can fit an inflatable mattress, CEO RJ Scaringe said. The R1S can fit a mattress behind the front row of seats. The R2 has rear quarter windows that pop out for better ventilation, especially if YoDog is riding in the cargo area, and the rear window power slides down into the tailgate. There’s still a flashlight in door. 

There’s much we don’t know about the R2, but Rivian claims to have responded to customer complaints from its R1 series and added not one but two gloveboxes.  

Rivian follows Tesla’s lead by making a North American Charging Standard (NACS) port that’s thinner and more efficient than the Combined Charging System (CCS) that had been dominant in the EV space until this year. Rivian will include an adapter to connect to the CCS fast-charging outlets, and R2 owners will be able to tap into Tesla’s industry-leading Supercharger network for DC fast-charging. The port is located on the passenger side rear fender. The charge port on the R1T pickup truck and R1S are on the driver’s side front fender. 

Compare range and charging between the Model Y and R2

Rivian promises at least 300 miles of range in the R2, but as of now, it’s theoretical. 

The 2024 Model Y comes in three different propulsion setups, with the base model as a single-motor rear-wheel-drive unit with a range of 260 miles. The Long Range all-wheel-drive model with two motors has an EPA-estimated range of 310 miles on 19-inch wheels. The Model Y Performance model trades range for acceleration with a 285-mile range; it rolls on 21-inch wheels. 

Tesla holds such a competitive edge when it comes to public DC fast-charging that Rivian has followed most other automakers in adopting NACS and tapping into Tesla’s robust network. A Supercharger pumping out 250 kw can restore 160 miles of range in 15 minutes in the Model Y. 

We don’t know the size of the Rivian battery pack, but Rivian said it will be made of denser 4695 (46 mm wide by 95 mm tall) cells. In the R1T and R1S, Rivian offers a 106-kwh battery pack dubbed Standard, a 121-kwh Standard+ pack, a 135-kwh Large pack, and a 149-kwh Max pack. The R2 will likely have a version similar if not the same as the Standard pack. 

Tesla doesn’t disclose battery pack sizes, but the dual-motor Model Y uses a pack in the 80-kwh range, whereas the base model is in the 60-kwh range. 

Rivan R2

2024 Tesla Model Y. – Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Performance difference between the Tesla Model Y and Rivian R2

The Rivian R2 will come in single, dual, or tri-motor setups. That’s really all we know, except Rivian promises a 0-60 mph time of less than three seconds, presumably in the tri-motor model. Even with that speed, the R2 shapes up to be a bona fide off-road vehicle. Rivian says the max ground clearance will be 9.8 inches, presumably through an optional air suspension system similar to what’s on the R1S, and it’ll have a 25-degree approach and 27-degree departure angles with optional 32-inch all-terrain tires.

We know so much more about the Tesla Model Y, which first launched in 2020. It might be able to hand an access road, but its ground clearance is nearly two inches less than most Subaru crossover SUVs. It’s made for the road, and the base Rear-Wheel Drive goes from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The Long Range with dual motors for all-wheel drive skips to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, while the range-topping Performance model cuts it to 3.5 seconds. 

How much does the Rivian R2 cost vs. the Tesla Model Y?

The R2 is projected to cost $45,000 excluding destination and excluding the federal EV tax credit applicable to most other Rivians. Who knows how the criteria will have changed by the first half of 2026, when the R2 is slated to go on sale. 

Price cuts have followed the Model Y in the past year, and its price continues to fluctuate. The tax credit applies to the dual-motor Tesla Model Y, not the rear-drive model, but we’ll exclude it here for uniformity. The Model Y costs about $42,000, including a $1,390 destination fee. The Long Range costs $5,000 more, and the Performance adds another $4,500 to about $51,500.