More Compact, More Affordable Rivian R2 Electric SUV Arriving in 2026

More Compact, More Affordable Rivian R2 Electric SUV Arriving in 2026

Rivian revealed its new R2 electric SUV, the smaller and more affordable follow-up to the R1S, during a livestream event Thursday morning. The R2 will be the North American EV builder’s third model when it arrives in early 2026, starting at an estimated MSRP of just $45,000.

The R2 looks a lot like its older and larger siblings, the R1T electric pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle, but much smaller. Its overall length of 185.6 inches from bumper-to-bumper is around 15 inches shorter than R1S, but its wheelbase (115.6 inches) loses only 5.5 inches, keeping the SUV’s planted stance intact. The new kid’s front and rear feature the brand’s familiar full-width light bar motif with Rivian’s signature pill-shaped headlamps leading the way. Beneath the surface, the R2’s new platform is built around a new battery pack comprised of redesigned cylindrical cells of a larger diameter than those found in the R1s.

Watch this: Rivian R2, R3 and R3X Reveal Event: Everything Announced in 8 Minutes

Joining features familiar to the R1 series — like the large frunk storage bin and the flashlight that stores and charges in the door — R2 introduces unique bits like power retracting rear glass and power-opening port glass behind the C-pillars. The R2 also features dual glove compartments — a weird omission from the R1 models — and fold-flat seats on both rows to accommodate the loading of long items or enclosed camping with an air mattress. Tucked into the roofline is a hidden spoiler. Even the cut line of the hood opening has been designed with European pedestrian safety in mind, hinting at the automaker’s global ambition for the smaller R2.

The R2 isn’t just a smaller R1S; it also features a new platform and battery design.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

R2 will be available in single, dual and tri-motor configurations, all of which should reach over 300 miles of estimated range. The fastest, triple-motor config (one for the front axle and two for the rear) claims sub 3-second 0-60 mph sprint.

Behind the charging door, which has been relocated to the rear of the SUV on the passenger side, you’ll find a NACS port. All of Rivian’s trucks and SUVs will gain compatibility with Tesla’s Supercharger network later this month, but the R2 will be the first from the brand to feature native, adapter-free connectivity with NACS stations. Meanwhile, Rivian will continue expanding its Rivian Adventure Network of charging stations, which tend to be located in more outdoorsy areas, to around 600 locations by the time R2 arrives and will begin opening its chargers to EVs from other automakers soon.

Rivian’s infotainment uses steering wheel controls for multiple functions, so the automaker ensured that the R2’s thumb wheels are big and bold.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Rivian tells me that the R2 platform is built with autonomy in mind, coming equipped with 11 sensing cameras, five radar sensors and targeting Level 3 (hands-off, eyes-off) highway autonomy at some point during the vehicle’s lifetime. That said, the SUV should still be capable off-road and on trails, fulfilling Rivian’s promise of being an “adventure vehicle.”

The Rivian R2 shared the stage with the surprise debuts of Rivian’s even more compact R3 and R3X. Preorders for the R2 are open now with an estimated starting price of $45,000. Whether that price includes destination charges or if the SUV will qualify for any EV tax incentives remains to be seen. The Rivian R2 will be built at Rivian’s Normal, Illinois, facility with the first examples slated to reach reservation holders in the first half of 2026.


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