Upgraded Rivian R1S and R1T Are Great, But We Really Need the Cheaper R2 and R3 ASAP

Rivian R1S & R1T 12 photos
Photo: Rivian
Rivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1TRivian R1S & R1T
The 2025 Rivian R1S adventure SUV and R1T pickup truck, both with zero emissions, are now officially refreshed across the board by the Irvine, California-based company, with promises of magnificent improvements.
Back in March, the EV manufacturer that doesn't necessarily compete directly with Tesla because the latter only makes passenger cars and crossover SUVs along with a lifestyle pickup truck, while the Rivian mojo is more about off-road adventure than anything else presented the first glimpse of its all-new mid-size EV platform. Of course, it didn't come alone – there was also an inaugural look at their upcoming new entries into the vehicle portfolio, the R2, R3, and R3X.

The gist of it all is simple – they are supposed to bring adventure to even more people because they will allegedly deliver amazing performance, utility, and range at a significantly lower price point than our flagship R1 line. The R2 is a new mid-size SUV with space for five people instead of seven like in the R1S and should start from around $45k instead of almost $76k like the R1S Adventure with a dual motor and standard battery pack. Naturally, the R2 looked exactly as if somebody had shrunk the R1S – which should help speed up development and lower costs.

Meanwhile, the R3 sounds and looks even cooler – the same mid-size platform is used for a more compact design and an even lower pricing point than the Tesla Model Y-fighting R2. Even better, there will be an R3X performance version with even better on- and off-road credentials. Both the R2 and R3 will come with two battery pack options, the top choice being good for more than 300 miles on a single charge plus a sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Look at Fisker and its Ocean debacle – the Tesla-rivaling company is on its deathbed after countless management and production errors.

Hopefully, Rivian – which has already proved itself with the expensive R1S and R1T – will be capable of delivering a more affordable experience comparable to how Tesla expanded from its Model S and Model X flagships into the lower-tier and smaller dimensions of the Model 3 and Model Y. "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. I can't wait to get these to customers," said Rivian's founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. Well, we have high hopes they will succeed – but we won't keep our fingers crossed because of the current EV climate of mistrust.

Sure, after the R2 and R3 presentations during the spring, the biggest news coming from Rivian arrived later during the season, with the company announcing that its vehicles have become compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network – adding access to more than 15k fast chargers across North America. That's a big step forward to alleviate concerns of recharging capabilities, of course. Unfortunately, however, there is still a lot of time for Rivian to fail its expansion plans focused on bringing the R2 and R3 to market in the near future (something like 2026 sounds feasible, but 2025 is not at all).

Well, a lot of stuff hinges on two things – America's potential to reverse the course of the EV slump and Rivian's capabilities regarding the introduction of the refreshed R1S and R1T. Indeed, last week, we kicked off another season – summer – and Rivian also brought to light a major reveal. They call these second-generation models, but you're going to have trouble distinguishing between them as these updated models feature new infotainment goodies, fresh safety software, and loads more power for the quad-motor flagship configurations – but little to no distinction in terms of exterior designs.

Suppose you're not a Rivian superfan to know the updates by hard after spending hours online across the rumor mill. In that case, it's important to note the company says its new "R1 vehicles have hundreds of hardware improvements, performance upgrades, a fully redesigned software experience, new in-house drive systems, and many new features, updates and design elements throughout." Immediately, they contradict themselves and say the "exterior design remains largely the same," but at least the evolution is notable under the skin. Of course, most notably, now there's more power for the top configuration.

More precisely, the quad-motor powertrain gets the jump on Tesla vehicles with a bump from 835 to 1,025 horsepower, enough to say they're more powerful than any Plaid. With launch control, Rivian even claims that the R1T is capable of zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in just 2.5 seconds. Also, the new drive unit is available as a triple motor configuration, which means it makes more ponies than the old quad-motor configuration: 850 hp. The new Tri-Motor R1T reaches 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and can go for 380 miles on a single charge – but there's also a Conserve Mode that boosts the estimate up to 405 miles. Meanwhile, the Dual-Motor version has remained the same with 665 hp and a zero to 60 mph sprint in 3.4 seconds for the Performance version. Also, there are revised battery packs, suspension setups, new electronics, and an unchanged $69,900 starting price for the R1T, while the R1S goes up to $75,900. Tri-motor variants kick off at $99,900 for the R1T and $105,900 for the R1S, respectively, with the larger Max battery standard – and the MSRPs for the quad-motor configuration aren't live yet.

Can anyone notice how Tesla is still miles away in front of the pack, even in terms of pricing? Sure, you can't really compare Model X and Cybertruck apples with Rivian R1S and R1T pears, right? However, one thing is for sure – the EV climate has become a lot tougher in the span of just a few months, and Rivian might want to make sure its upgraded R1 lineup is up to snuff to ensure its survival. Additionally, we really hope they have learned loads of valuable lessons from the original R1S and R1T and will continue to do so with the refreshed versions – lessons which should really be applied as fast as possible to the R2 and R3 because those are the real mass-market heroes that could help Rivian establish itself as a veritable American carmaker.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Aurel Niculescu
Aurel Niculescu profile photo

Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories