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Meet the all-new Rivian R3: the smallest and most affordable offering revealed so far by pioneering electric car start-up company, Rivian. The new EV will arrive as a rival to the new Ford Explorer and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The Rivian R3’s design straddles the line between crossover SUV and hatchback, and does, in fact, feature a hatchback tailgate with an opening ‘flipper glass’ section, similar to the ones on some estate cars. Rivian says this feature allows owners to more easily load or unload the boot, or carry longer items because it can be locked in place at various heights.

The R3 sports Rivian’s distinctive ‘stadium headlight’ styling and the simple, futuristic design language that’s shared across all its models, including the R1T pick-up truck and R1S seven-seat SUV, not to mention the newly unveiled Rivian R2 mid-size SUV. Meanwhile, the rear end gets a chunky red tail-light bar, larger ‘Rivian’ lettering and small roof spoiler. 

Speaking at the reveal of the R2 and R3, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said “as tidy as it is on dimensions on the outside, we’ve put so much effort into making sure the inside feels big”. Particular attention was paid to the amount of rear legroom in the R3, with the car benefiting from a 2,800mm wheelbase, which is longer than the Audi Q4 e-tron’s.

The interior design of the R3 has been carried over from the R2, as has the philosophy of using materials that are both sustainable and durable. Scaringe highlighted the flexibility of the storage inside – including the two gloveboxes, and the torch handily hidden in the driver’s door – when unveiling the car. There’s also a large central touchscreen and digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. 

Hot Rivian R3X performance model

Revealed alongside the standard R3 is the high-performance Rivian R3X that the brand says will boast “even more dynamic abilities both on and off-road”. Changes for the R3X include wider wheels and tyres, wider stance, more ground clearance and an interior design scheme that Rivian refers to as ‘rugged playful’ that uses more interesting materials, like cork.

Powering the R3X is a tri-motor powertrain, the like of which, until now, has only featured in ultra-high-performance EVs like the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air Sapphire that both produce over 1,000bhp. The Rivian is unlikely to have that much horsepower on tap, however, and exact performance figures for the car remain under wraps for now.

The R3 and R3X uses Rivian’s all-new mid-size vehicle platform that also sits underneath the larger R2 SUV. The architecture is designed to be cost efficient and utilises components that dramatically reduce complexity, all of which will help lower the R3’s price tag.

The R3 will offer over 300 miles of range from one of its two battery options, although their exact capacities aren’t confirmed. Similarly, Rivian says charging the R3 from 10 to 80 per cent will take less than 30 minutes from a suitably fast rapid charger, but hasn’t disclosed the EV’s maximum charging speed. 

Rivian’s new platform can accommodate various electric motor configurations: single-motor rear-drive, dual-motor all-wheel drive and the R3X’s tri-motor setup that uses two motors on the rear axle and one on the front. The quickest R2/R3 models are capable of 0-60mph in “well under three seconds”, says Scaringe.

He also said “I have never been more excited to launch new products – R2 and R3 are distinctly Rivian in terms of performance, capability, and usability, yet with pricing that makes them accessible to a lot of people.”

Unfortunately, all we know about pricing for the Rivian R3 is that it will undercut the $45,000 (just over £35,000) projected starting price of the R2. Rivian has also stated that R3 and R3X’s arrival will happen after the R2 is launched, with its big brother not due to enter production until the first half of 2026. 

Rivian has confirmed to Auto Express that the Tesla Model Y-rivalling R2 is coming to the UK, and we expect it will bring the R3 here as well, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

Click here for our list of the best electric SUVs

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