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Tesla Model Y vs. Rivian R2: How These EVs Stack Up on Paper

In which we compare Rivian's new SUV with the best-selling EV in America

Tesla Model Y vs. Rivian R2
  • The new Rivian R2 will arrive in 2026.
  • Its chief rival will be the Tesla Model Y, America's best-selling EV.
  • Let's see how these competitors stack up on paper.

The Tesla Model Y isn't just the best-selling small electric SUV in the U.S, it's the best-selling electric car, period. So, following the debut of the new Rivian R2 on Thursday, let's take a look at how Tesla's bread-and-butter baby stacks up against its soon-to-be rival. On paper, at least.

Dimensions

The 2026 Rivian R2 measures in at 185.6 inches long, 75 inches wide and 66.9 inches tall, riding on a 115.6-inch wheelbase. It also has 9.8 inches of ground clearance, which gives it instant off-road prowess.

The Model Y, meanwhile, is a bit longer, at 187 inches, and slightly wider, at 77.3 inches. It's not as tall as the Rivian R2, though, measuring 64 inches. But the Tesla also has a lot less ground clearance: 6.2 inches. Remember, this one isn't an off-roader whereas the R2 puts adventure and the great outdoors at the core of its brief.

Rivian R2 profile

Powertrains

Rivian hasn't released all of the R2's nitty-gritty specs; we anticipate getting those closer to the SUV's on-sale date in 2026. For the moment, we know it'll have a single-motor (rear-wheel-drive) configuration, a dual-motor (all-wheel-drive) setup and an optional tri-motor (one up front, two in back) arrangement. The quickest variant is expected to be able to accelerate to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, according to Rivian.

Tesla offers single- and dual-motor versions of the Model Y, and the company's quickest 0-to-60-mph claim is 3.5 seconds for the Model Y Performance. Of course, a lot could change between now and 2026. Model Y Plaid, anyone?

Range

Ah, range — the all-important metric for EVs. Rivian is once again playing it close to the vest for the R2, only saying that all three drivetrain configurations should be able to exceed 300 miles.

The base Tesla Model Y is rated at 260 miles of range, with the dual-motor version upping that figure to 310 miles and the Model Y Performance coming in at 285 miles. This puts the Rivian ahead, but again, 2026 is still a long way away. We look forward to putting the Rivian R2 through our official Edmunds EV Range Test to see how these two EVs really stack up.

Rivian R2 interior

Interior and cargo space

Both of these SUVs have seating for five passengers, and the Rivian's boxy, upright shape will certainly help it in terms of headroom. Rivian says both rows of seats in the R2 fold flat, which means you could theoretically put a mattress in there and use the Rivian as your sleeping quarters on a camping trip. The Model Y doesn't do that, but it's also not really an outdoorsy camp-ready vehicle either.

Another ace up the Rivian's sleeve is its dual-function tailgate, where the rear window can be rolled down. This makes it easy to load in longer items, or just lower the glass and throw a backpack into the hatch. Tesla doesn't offer this, with its more aerodynamic hatchback shape. However, the Model Y certainly doesn't skimp on space and gives you 76 cubic feet of cargo capacity to work with.

Infotainment and driver assistance tech

Interestingly, both Rivian and Tesla have similar approaches to multimedia systems, relying heavily on a large central screen for the vast majority of vehicle controls. The Rivian R2 does have a second gauge cluster screen, though, which is a setup we vastly prefer. Neither of these EVs offers Apple CarPlay or Android Auto — for now.

On the driver assistance front, Tesla has its finicky and misleadingly named Full Self-Driving suite. Rivian says it'll be fitting the R2 with 11 cameras and five radars, and that the SUV will bring "a full suite of autonomy and driver assist features." Guess we'll have to wait and see what that means.

2023 Tesla Model Y front

Price

At the time of this writing, a base Tesla Model Y costs $45,380, including a mandatory $1,390 destination charge. The Model Y can take advantage of the federal tax credit, however, potentially lowering the price by as much as $7,500.

The Model Y Long Range comes in at $50,380 to start, and the range-topping Model Y Performance costs $53,880; both prices include destination.

Right now, Rivian is only saying that the R2 will start around $45,000, meaning it should be priced competitively to the Model Y. That'll be for the base single-motor version, of course, and the more powerful models will certainly be more expensive. It also stands to reason that, because the R2 will be built in Normal, Illinois, it'll also be able to take advantage of the $7,500 tax credit — depending on what the government decides to do between now and 2026, anyway.