Rivian R2 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5: Should you wait for the Rivian R2?

Rivian has taken the wraps off of the Rivian R2, an electric SUV that’s similar to the much-loved R1S, but smaller and, crucially, cheaper. But the R2 goes up against some serious competition. The likes of Hyundai have been building solid EVs for some time now — including the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The R2 and the Ioniq 5 each make a compelling case for themselves, and they’re likely to end up being similarly priced if the Ioniq 5 doesn’t get much cheaper and the R2 does end up being sold at $45,000. To be fair, the cars are pretty different — the R2 is more of an SUV, while the Ioniq 5 is much more crossover-sized. But because of their similar price, you might be deciding between the two. How do they compare? We put the Rivian R2 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 head-to-head.

Design

The differences between the Rivian R2 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are perhaps no more apparent than when it comes to design.

As mentioned, the Rivian R2 is much more of an SUV-sized vehicle, with a large, boxy design that’s very reminiscent of the higher-end R1S. Unlike the R1S, the R2 is only large enough for two rows of seats, but the boxier size does mean that there’s extra storage and a higher ride. The R2 still looks very much like a Rivian, though. It has those buggy oval headlights, and a large light bar at the back. Generally, it has a more rugged vibe to it than many other EVs.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD rear end side profile from driver's side with trees and a metal fence in the back.
Joel Patel / Digital Trends

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a little less rugged, but still a great-looking car. The Ioniq 5 is a hatchback, and it has kind of a retro look to it, thanks to the pixel lights on the front and rear. The lights on the Ioniq 5 are perhaps not quite as immediately recognizable as the Rivian headlights, but they’re still unique and interesting, and they look great.

It’s always nice to get a vehicle that you like the look of — but ultimately, when it comes to these two cars, you’ll probably want to make your decision based on the size of the cars.

Interior and tech

The cars are quite different on the inside too. As you would expect, there’s a lot more interior space in the Rivian R2. So much so, that Rivian is touting the ability to sleep inside the vehicle by folding both the first and second row seats down and putting an air mattress inside. Do that with the Ioniq 5, and you might find yourself a little cramped.

Interior of the Rivian R2
Rivian

The overall look of the interiors is a little different. The Rivian R2 is built to be slightly more rugged, and there are design touches like the flashlight in the door, lots of storage compartments, and so on. That doesn’t mean it’s not approachable, though — it is, and while we haven’t been able to sit in one just yet if the R1S is anything to go by, it’ll be very comfortable. The R2 offers Rivian’s infotainment software, and it’s pretty well-designed — however, you can’t use anything else. There’s no support for CarPlay and Android Auto here.

The Ioniq 5 has nice fabric-covered seats, and while there aren’t quite as many storage compartments as on the Rivian R2, there’s still plenty of storage to go around. The Ioniq 5 has Hyundai’s infotainment system, which isn’t quite as impressive as Rivian’s, but it does support CarPlay and Android Auto, which means you can essentially just use your phone for your car’s infotainment system.

Close up of steering wheel in 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD during sunset.
Joel Patel / Digital Trends

Both of the vehicles have some solid driver-assist features, however, if Rivian’s claims end up being correct, the R2 will have some better self-driving tech. Both cars will support things like adaptive cruise control and lane-centering, but Rivian claims that the R2’s 11 cameras and five radars are enough to allow the car to drive itself on the highway without the driver even having to keep watch on the road.

Performance

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a solid-performing car, though its performance depends a little on the model you choose. The Ioniq 5 is available in single-motor or dual-motor configurations, and the fastest dual-motor variant will get you from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s pretty quick.

Side of the Rivian R2
Rivian

But not as quick as the Rivian R2. It will be available in single-, dual-, or tri-motor variants, and Rivian says that the highest-performing version of the car will get to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. The dual-motor variant of the R2 is likely to be pretty quick, too, though we’ll have to wait and see just how quick.

If you’re looking for performance, then Rivian R2 is probably the better option for you.

Range and charging

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a solid range — depending on the model you go for. The base model of the Ioniq 5, the SE Standard Range, has a fairly low range of 220 miles, which isn’t great. Upgrade to the SE rear-wheel-drive, and you’ll get up to 303 miles. Other models sit somewhere in between.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD front end angle showcasing wheels and side profile with trees in the back.
Joel Patel / Digital Trends

Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about the range of the Rivian R2. Rivian has said that the larger battery pack on the R2 will give the vehicle “over 300 miles” of range, but it’s unclear what the range will be on the base variants. We’re not expecting any versions of the R2 to be as low in terms of range as the base Ioniq 5, but we don’t know for sure just yet.

There is one area in which the Ioniq 5 is at the top of the game, and that’s charging speed. The Ioniq 5 supports superfast charging at up to 350 kilowatts, but you will have to find a charging station that supports these speeds. If you do, you’ll be able to charge from 10% to 80% in under 20 minutes, which is very impressive. We don’t yet know the exact charging speed of the Rivian R2, but Rivian says that it’ll be able to charge from 10% to 80% in under 30 minutes.

Pricing and availability

Looking for a new car in the next year or so? If you’re deciding between the R2 and the Ioniq 5, your decision is already made for you. The Rivian R2 may have been announced, but it won’t be released until the first half of 2026. You can “reserve” one now, but reserving one simply involves a refundable $100 deposit that gives you a place in line — so it’s not even up to the level of being up for pre-order. Rivian says that the R2 will start at $45,000, but pricing could change a little between now and 2026. Rivian says that the R2 will qualify for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit, which makes the price even lower.

The Ioniq 5, on the other hand, is available and has been for a few years. It starts at $41,800 and qualifies for the EV tax credit, so it’s a little cheaper than the R2’s claimed eventual price.

Conclusions

Both the Rivian R2 and the Ioniq 5 are clearly excellent EVs — though we will have to wait and see just how excellent the R2 is when it’s released to the public. In the end, the one you go for may depend on how big of an EV you want. But if you are willing to wait, it’s possible the Rivian R3 could be the EV for you.

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