It’s not much to go on, but we’ve had our first taste of what the Rivian R2S will look like. Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe hosted an Instagram Q&A, and thankfully, the company uploaded the entire showcase to YouTube with chapter titles. The second segment of the 33:14 vid contains ten seconds of Scaringe and Rivian lead designer Jeff Hammoud standing in front of the model they call the R2; we called it R2S because of its SUV shape and the company’s nomenclature established with the R1. Probably as intended, we weren’t able to find any gotchas in the shape. The R2 is obviously smaller than the R1. The two things that stood out to us were the way the greenhouse tapers from the shoulder to the roof, and as a consequence of that, the way the line around the taillight stands out from the rear fender and the greenhouse.
The narrow-seeming cabin sounds like a result of the R2 and R3 “[moving] in different form factors and obviously different sizes,” according to Scaringe.
We’ve read that the R2 is supposedly around the size of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That clay model doesn’t look GC-sized, although who knows if it’s to scale. There’s also a long way to go until we get a production-ready debut, we believe. Scaringe talks about the production ramp-up in the video not long after the R2 segment, growing pains having pushed the R2’s arrival from 2025 to 2026. Unless everything goes great guns, we’re probably at least 18 months away from knowing what the R1’s follow-up will look like.
We’re told Rivian’s throwing a lot of brainpower at it. Scaringe spoke in April about the effort across the development teams to maintain Rivian DNA in the first vehicle the company’s building to a strict price point lower than that of the R1. Speaking to YouTuber Marques Brownlee, the CEO said, “For the R2 product lineup, we have less dollars to spend, and so things that we didn’t have to debate as much on a flagship [R1] product we really are debating heavily” about how to “take the essence of what we’ve done [with the R1] in terms of how you can fit your gear and your pets and do it in a refined and fun way in different packages and in smaller form factors.”
What we know won’t be coming for the R2 are quad-motor powertrains and a feature list as long as that for the R1. And Scaringe said the Tank Turn that caused a big stir a few years ago isn’t coming for any Rivian. The vid’s got a chapter devoted to the turn-in-place feature, Scaringe saying, “Over the last year and a half we’ve arrived at the view that it’s a feature that, while we can do it, it’s so easily abused and so hard to make sure we don’t tear up trails and really do things that are in contrast to what we stand for as a company,” so it’s been sent to the graveyard. Some have inferred this is Rivian saying it doesn’t exactly trust its customers without saying it doesn’t trust its customers. That might be true. We’d believe there are other valid reasons, including the one Scaringe mentioned. Rotating in place puts a ton of torque through the drivetrain, and there are already enough ways to break a truck off-road. Ford Bronco owners are taking to forums to complain that Trail Assist, which brakes the Bronco’s inside rear wheel during a turn, is breaking drivelines. And let a Rivian customer misjudge the clearance in a tight spot and end up blocking the trail like the Evergiven container ship in the Suez last year. Or worse.
Check out the vid for the all the sound bites about where Rivian is and where it plans to go.