Why I Reserved A Rivian R2


Here’s an odd fact about the deputy editor of the country’s biggest EV news and reviews site: I daily drive a 2001 Chevy Tahoe that gets about 14 mpg. I’m ready for an electric car, I believe in the technology, and I’m hopeful about the future. There’s just one issue: There’s no EV for people like me. Or at least, there wasn’t until yesterday, when Rivian revealed the R2 and R3

See, I drive a Tahoe because it was the best tool available for my lifestyle on the budget I had. I had spent the vast majority of my net worth on a supercharged Miata I bought off of Jason Fenske, and loved driving a small car, but I had big car needs. I haul surfboards and bikes multiple times a week. I go on four-person, long-distance camping trips every month or so. I camp off the trail, usually tucked back on unmaintained dirt roads. I spent $2500 on the Tahoe, and it handles all of this well. To get an EV that could do any of this, I’d have to spend nearly $30,000, and it still wouldn’t be a good fit. I love Teslas, I love the Ioniq 5 and 6, I love the Kia EV6, but none are built for the way I use and abuse my adventure rig. A Tesla is like an electric Audi. I need an electric Subaru. 

2001 Chevy Tahoe camping

My Tahoe. Not pictured: A cargo area packed to the roof, with wood, a cooler, food, backpacks, sleeping bags, an air mattress, four chairs, Maxtrax, a water jug, a tent and tools.

What I’ve been asking for is the EV equivalent of a Crosstrek or Outback, something reasonably sized and affordable but also built for the sort of wear and tear that constant dirt, grime, and fire-road flogging puts on a vehicle. Ideally, I’d have room for four people, a cooler, four chairs, a tent, six cords of firewood, and my Maxtrax, and enough space that when I empty it out I can sleep in it, but I was willing to budge there. I understand that this amount of space is an unreasonable ask, but my $2500 Tahoe can handle it, and it’s tough to imagine spending $40,000 to get less capability than I have right now. True, my camping trips don’t happen every day, but they’re the highlight of my year, and if I’m going to spend a lot of money on a car I expect it to enable my adventures, not limit them. 

Enter the Rivian R3, the EV Crosstrek I want right now. I was shocked when they rolled it out on stage, and instantly want it. It doesn’t quite have the cargo space I want, but I’d be willing to throw a roof rack on it and make it work. Yet the problem is I want it now. And it won’t be available until “after the R2,” vague phrasing that could mean late 2026 or late 2028. By that point, my needs will likely have changed, and I’ll probably want more space and luxury. 


The Rivian R3, the electric Crosstrek of my dreams. 

By that point, I’ll want a comfortable, stylish SUV with a killer user experience and enough capability to tackle fire roads, light trails, and long-distance camping trips without a sweat. That’s the Rivian R2, and that’s why I reserved one. I love everything about it. The styling is familiar but still fantastic, the size is just right for someone downsizing from a Tahoe, and the clever outdoorsy-oriented features are amazing. I’ve always wanted the retractable rear glass of a Toyota 4Runner for breezes and boards, and I’ve long missed my old Lexus LX’s fold-down rear tailgate that worked like a bench for changing out of a grubby wetsuit. 

The R2 gets the drop-down glass, and a slide-out platform for emulating that split tailgate experience, and a pop-up mini table in the tailgate to serve as a coffee cup or meal holder at a campsite, and the cheeky integrated flashlight, and pop-out vent windows, and fold-down front seats, and a better bike rack solution, and a better roof rack and a dozen other little things that make outdoor recreation and adventure so much easier. This is a company that truly understands its customers. 

Rivian R2

It’s made me hopeful for the future of Rivian, and the future of cars. I want adventure vehicles to continue on, but I want them to be smarter, better for the environment and more thoughtful. Rivian proved yesterday that it’s going to deliver that future, and in the process become something like a high-class Subaru for the electric age. If you’ve ever spent any time in Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Utah, or a half-dozen other markets, you know how big of an opportunity that is. In fact, Rivian’s more affordable options have already caught the eye of three other InsideEVs and Motorsport Network staff members. IEVs contributing writer Rob Stumpf wants an R3X, senior reporter Tim Levin reserved an R2 and motorsport network automotive editorial director Travis Okulski put down a deposit. We’re in line with about 68,000 others as of this morning.

Now we wait. And given that I believe cars shouldn’t be maintained and used for as long as possible if we want a fully sustainable car market, I’m happy to try to keep my Tahoe running for the next two years. If I can hold out, it’ll help me save up for the R2. The all-wheel-drive one will likely cost around or over $50k, a stretch for me. But if that proves too pricey, there’s always the R3.


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