New Rivian R2 electric SUV is coming to Europe | CAR Magazine

New Rivian R2 electric SUV is coming to Europe

Published: 07 March 2024 Updated: 07 March 2024

► New Rivian R2 SUV officially revealed
► Smaller SUV for US EV brand’s growing range
► Coming to Europe, may come to UK

US start-up Rivian has unveiled the R2, a mid-sized electric SUV similar in dimensions to a BMW X3, that is destined for European sales in mid-2026.

Priced from $45,000, the car is a significant step-up for the brand – up until now, Rivian has only offered the R1S and R1T, a large SUV and truck respectively, which were more suited to its home market. With the R2, the brand is hoping it will become a much bigger global player.

Based around a new platform that also underpins the R3 and R3 X, the R2 is a five-seat SUV (unlike the R1S that comes with seven seats) that has three motor options from launch. Single, double and tri-motor set-ups will all be available, with the latter capable of a 0-60mph time in less than 3.0 seconds. Key rival the Tesla Model Y manages the same sprint in 4.4 seconds, giving Rivian the early bragging rights.

Battery size isn’t confirmed yet, but two options will be available, with the bigger of the two offering more than 300 miles of range. The R2 uses a 4695 cylinder-shaped cell that’s more energy dense than the R1, while charging from 10-80% should be possible in under 30 minutes, about par for the course these days.

Rivian’s strap line is ‘keep the world adventurous forever’, so the R2 has 250mm of ground clearance and short front and rear overhangs to give decent approach and departure angles.

It gets the same door-mounted removable torch as the R1 sibling and a USB-charged hand warmer is promised as a future option in the same spot: it’s not only Rolls-Royce and Skoda that can hide useful things in doors. All the seats also fold completely flat – Glastonbury here we come – and the boot window drops down into the door frame to give easier access to the space back there. There’s also a large frunk and a fold-out platform in the boot that acts as a seat, a la Range Rover.

The rear windows pop out sideways, like the Mercedes V-Class and plenty of others. So not exactly a new phenomenon but given the ecstatic reaction from the US audience when CEO RJ Scaringe unveiled this aspect, you’d have thought he’d solved nuclear fission.

As you’d expect from an all-electric brand, sustainable materials are used throughout while Scaringe was keen to emphasise the usability of the cabin with its the twin scroll wheels on the steering wheel. Offering haptic feedback and the ability to operate in three axis (rotate, push, side-to-side), they’re promised to make the touchscreen more navigable.

No word yet on UK sales but, given the global ambitions of Rivian and the popularity of this size of car in the British market, it would seem a sure bet it’ll follow soon after the European debut.

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer