Say Hello To The Off-Road Focused R3

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. 

At first glance, the R3X appears like a beefier R3 with a higher ground clearance and wider stance. It has multiple visual elements distinguishing it from the R3. The model showcased had dual 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.

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

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 for wider EV adoption, and ultimately for a bigger impact on emissions reduction.

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.

This is a breaking news post. It will be updated shortly.