Home » The Rivian R3 Looks Like The Lifted Electric Hot Hatch Of Our Dreams

The Rivian R3 Looks Like The Lifted Electric Hot Hatch Of Our Dreams

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It’s a big day for Rivian. During the debut of the Tesla Model Y-fighting R2 crossover, the electric vehicle startup surprised everyone with something even smaller — the Rivian R3. Not only would this be a huge step to scaling the automaker, it’s also a compelling piece of design that’s attractive in its own right. Cooler still, it doesn’t appear to be some cost-cut special — it shares a whole lot with its incoming big brother.

Sure, it might not be a flagship R1T truck or R1S SUV, but few companies are built on flagships alone. Selling in volume is critical to the survival of just about any EV startup, as it’s a way to amortize business costs and build success. Judging by what we’re seeing here, Rivian has drive to it, even if we’ll all have to wait a few years.

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Basically, the Rivian R3 is a shrunk-down R2 — same architecture, just with more compact dimensions, including a shorter 2,800 mm wheelbase. That means a choice of single-motor, dual-motor, and tri-motor layouts.

Rivian R3 Skateboard

However, the R3 looks less like a traditional crossover and more like a hatchback. There’s a bit of Giugiaro to the C-pillars, greenhouse, and rear glass that’s far more subtle than the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s homage to the 1980s. Interestingly, that rear glass can be opened separately from the hatch, which may mitigate the bite the rear window rake takes out of cargo space.

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Rivian R3 Interior

On the inside of the Rivian R3, there’s a lot to talk about. Not only is a frunk on tap, the rear seats appear to fold in a 40/20/40 split for flexibility between long items and passengers. In addition, all seats fold down to facilitate car camping, the dashboard features two glove boxes, and the floor in the back looks pretty flat. Despite compact dimensions, there’s a chance the Rivian R3 could seat four adults in comfort, which is really what people are looking for in this segment.

Rivian R3x

Oh, and if you want to get a little bit rowdy, Rivian is lining something up for you. Called the R3X, it’s a tri-motor all-wheel-drive lifted hot hatch on all-terrain tires that gives off Volkswagen Golf Country vibes in the best way possible. If you want a relatively compact electric vehicle cosplaying as a rally car, the R3X holds a lot of promise.

Rivian R3 Cargo Area

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Pricing and timing hasn’t been announced yet, but with the R2 going on sale in the first half of 2026, expect the R3 to follow along later. Is that too far out? At this point, it’s hard to say. A two-year wait for a car from a new production facility isn’t the end of the world, but it could give manufacturers a time to better position themselves to claw interest back.

Rivian R3 1

Still, if Rivian plays its cards right, this could be its Tesla Model 3 moment. The Rivian R3 doesn’t have to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, it just has to have appeal. From what we’re seeing, so long as pricing and range are right, the Rivian R3 is a great-looking car that could be a winner.

(Photo credits: Rivian)

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Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago

That looks great!

But I had an idea. What if a vehicle with a frunk that had a glovebox, and a hatch in the glovebox that led to the frunk, One around the size of the glovebox itself?

Marco
Marco
1 month ago
Reply to  Musicman27

How high were you when you wrote that comment? 😛

Musicman27
Musicman27
27 days ago
Reply to  Marco

Not high at all. It was just one of those random thought that actually seems like it might work in reality. Also if you were in the trunk but needed to grab something from the glovebox, it could be handy.

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
1 month ago

It looks a little like the starting vehicle for the nomad background in Cyberpunk 2077. I dig it.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
1 month ago

Oh this is such a good looking machine, the proportions are fantastic. This deserves to be a huge success.

Would love to hear what Adrian Clarke thinks of it, specifically the rear treatment.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

This has caused me great pause in terms of considering my next DD. I still think a PHEV is probably a better fit, but…

Tom T
Tom T
1 month ago

Biggest question is will it be available to buy in significant numbers. And will this happen soon enough to prevent Rivian from going under.

MrLM002
MrLM002
1 month ago

Electric door handles are never present in my dreams, only my nightmares.

Younork
Younork
1 month ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Unless It’s stated somewhere, I’d guess these are the kind that you pop out with your thumb and then grab. Cheaper, but still have the range bump

MrLM002
MrLM002
1 month ago
Reply to  Younork

But are they mechanical?

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
1 month ago
Reply to  Younork

They’ll still be stuck frozen in ice.

Chickentimer
Chickentimer
1 month ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

like regular handle you mean?

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
1 month ago
Reply to  Chickentimer

Sorta. Except a regular handle you can get your hand behind to bust free. Something that’s flush with the surface of the door, you have no chance.

Chickentimer
Chickentimer
1 month ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

A few slight bump with your fist should do the job just fine.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago

This might indeed do it. Make Rivian a going concern that is.

They slapped the Rivan Corporate Face onto a Niva and called it a day. Well played. 🙂

D M
D M
1 month ago

Get rid of the stupidly large wheels and SUV pretensions and we can talk. It looks like a modern AMC eagle. That’s not a compliment (never thought I’d have to clarify that, but this is what the world has come to).

Marco
Marco
1 month ago
Reply to  D M

The whole point is to make a small rally hatchback you can daily drive and also take to dirt roads without holding back… If that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s just not aimed at you?

D M
D M
1 month ago
Reply to  Marco

Yeah there’s a real dearth of cars with stupidly big wheels and AWD. It’s a really underserved market.

Marco
Marco
23 days ago
Reply to  D M

Capables ones? Which you can daily drive? That are EVs?

Sbzr
Sbzr
1 month ago

Fiat 127 or “127000” in this case but that hatch is painful just to look at, imagine carrying a full set of luggage in that, ouch

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Sbzr

It’s a compact, it’s not designed for a full set of luggage.

For that you want the Rivian RDV700.

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
1 month ago

Niva??? Bite your tongue.

EV Golf Country.

https://a.allegroimg.com/s1024/0caaa5/40b58cf54eb88d492b9b6b4f9c38

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch
EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

I love it, but I have the sad feeling it’s ten years too early to be successful. I doubt we’ll ever see it, but I’d be happy to be wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by EXL500
Eric Gonzalez
Eric Gonzalez
1 month ago

Lada Niva vibes

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago

Shut up and take my money!

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