Electric Cars

The 2022 Rivian R1T review: The uniquely-styled electric truck lives up to its preproduction hype

The 2022 Rivian R1T review: The uniquely-styled electric truck lives up to its preproduction hype
Written by Publishing team

Price: The 2022 Rivian R1T starts at $67,500.

Rivian RIVN,
-7.56%
is an American electric vehicle startup that appears to be the real deal. It has operated in stealth mode for many years, but the company has finally brought production vehicles to market. The first example is the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck. Not only is it electric with four motors, but it’s loaded with unique quirks like a “Gear Tunnel” and an available tent. The R1T is ready for adventure.

The Rivian R1T

Rivian

As a midsize electric pickup, the Rivian R1T lacks true direct competitors, but potential rivals include the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, the Ford F,
-1.78%
F-150 Lightning, and the upcoming Tesla TSLA,
-5.12%
Cybertruck. With a starting MSRP of $67,500, the Rivian R1T is positioned above the base F-150 Lightning and below the Hummer EV Pickup. It’s a decidedly premium vehicle with a premium price, and we hope to see a more affordable entry-level model in the near future.

Also see: Why you won’t see the Cybertruck, Roadster, or any kind of budget EV this year from Tesla

2022 Rivian R1T pricing

Pricing for the 2022 Rivian R1T starts at $67,500 for the base Explore Package, plus a destination charge of $1,075 and a documentation fee of $70. If you want to upgrade to the more upscale Adventure Package, pricing starts at $73,000. A few interesting options are available for an extra cost, like a $5,000 camp kitchen set and a 3-person tent plus crossbars to mount it to the bed for $2,650.

In the small but growing world of electric pickups, the R1T is priced between the more affordable Ford F-150 Lightning and the more expensive GMC Hummer EV Pickup. Since this is an all-new model in a new segment, we can’t yet say with certainty what the resale value of the Rivian R1T will look like. If it’s anything like mainstream gas-powered pickups, it should hold its value quite well.

The Rivian R1T

Rivian

Driving the 2022 Rivian R1T

Against the odds, the R1T lives up to its preproduction hype. On paved roads, it can launch from a standstill to 60 miles an hour in around 3 seconds. That’s supercar quick. It also tackles curvy roads with composure and a lack of body lean unheard of among pickup trucks. With a sticky set of summer tires and the adaptive air suspension set to its lowest and stiffest setting, we suspect the R1T could shame some sports cars.

However, venture off-road as the marketing materials suggest and the R1T truly shines. In off-road mode the suspension can rise, offering elevated ground clearance and up to 3 feet of water fording abilities. While climbing rugged trails during our test drive through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the truck’s individual wheel motors propelled the vehicle with ease. We also found the R1T’s midsize proportions to be a useful asset when navigating narrow trails.

Drive with a less adventurous spirit and the Rivian R1T still charms. In its soft setting, the suspension ably obscures road imperfections without fully isolating the driver from their environment. On a related note, the steering exhibits a lively quality…pulling left and right as the front tires encounter rocks and ruts. It’s a welcome bit of analog character that keeps the R1T from feeling too digital.

Don’t miss: The 2022 GMC Hummer EV reviewed: The all-electric, full-size luxury pickup has real truck abilities, but a steep learning curve

interior comfort

The Rivian R1T’s interior walks a tricky line, managing to be both rugged and luxurious. Premium materials abound and, at least in the trucks we tested, build quality appeared to be excellent. Our time was spent in the upscale R1T Adventure model whose natural-grained ash wood trim, tasteful splashes of color, and fancy “Chilewich” floor mats would feel right at home in an industrial loft.

Dominating the dash of all models is a 16-inch touchscreen through which most vehicle functions are managed. To the left, a second smaller screen provides instrumentation for the driver. Elsewhere the interior offers abundant small storage nooks, an available flashlight stowed in the driver-side door, vegan leather seats, and a nifty removable speaker that doubles as a camp lantern.

Storage space in this truck is extremely generous. Between the front trunk, Gear Tunnel, the truck bed, and the under-bed storage area (optionally filled with a full-size spare), the R1T has over 66 cubic feet of storage.

While riding in the rear seats we did wish for more robust lumbar support. We also wonder how desert dwellers will feel about the panoramic roof’s lack of a sunshade. But those issues aside, the interior of Rivian’s pickup proved to be a fashionable and highly functional space.

exterior styling

In profile, the Rivian R1T might look like a traditional pickup truck, but its unique light signatures front and rear give it futuristic flair. Offered in a range of vibrant colors, the R1T packs a visual wallop.

From a functionality standpoint, Rivan owners can electronically lower the tailgate or deploy the available powered tonneau cover using buttons embedded atop the driver-side bed rail. The two doors for the Gear Tunnel can also hold 400 pounds when lowered, functioning as chairs or steps for loading items on the roof.

Also see: Rivian was largest IPO of the year

For hauling bulkier items, Rivian offers a rail system with crossbars for mounting bikes or even a tent. Another clever feature is Gear Guard, which includes a pair of 8-foot cut-resistant tethers that lash around your gear and lock into the bed. Gear Guard also employs 360-video abilities to deter any would-be thieves.

For wheels and tires, there are three choices: a 20-inch All-Terrain package for superior off-roading, a 21-inch set said to offer the best electric range, and a 22-inch wheel and tire package that promises enhanced on -road handling.

Favorite features

Driver+
The Driver+ system uses 11 cameras, five radar units, and 12 ultrasonic sensors to deliver advanced driver assistance features in the R1T. Included standard on every Rivian pickup, Driver+ can keep the vehicle in its lane at a proper distance from the vehicle ahead along select sections of roadway.

gear-tunnel
The clever Gear Tunnel located between the rear doors and rear wheels gives you 11 cubic feet of extra storage capacity without taking up space in the bed or the cabin. The Gear Tunnel can also house an optional $5,000 pull-out camp kitchen complete with a 30-piece cookware set, an induction stove powered by the truck’s battery pack, and even a sink.

Check out: Chevy fans can plan for these popular models to go electric soon

Standard features

The base Rivian R1T Explore package comes generously equipped with standard all-wheel drive and a 135-kWh battery pack that delivers 314 miles of range, according to the EPA. Other standard kit includes a Gear Tunnel behind the rear doors, a manual tonneau cover for the bed, vegan leather seats that are heated in front, a panoramic moonroof, and an in-bed air compressor with a 20-foot hose to air up each drawn.

More standard features are added when you upgrade to the Adventure model. The R1T Adventure comes with a power tonneau cover, a Gear Guard, a clear and powerful Meridian premium audio system, natural grain ash wood interior trim, heated and ventilated front seats, lumbar adjustment for the front passenger, a recycled microfiber headliner, and Chilewich floor mats.

Factory options

Both the Explore and Adventure models of the R1T are available with a bigger battery pack that Rivian says will be good for over 400 miles of range. This is a $10,000 option. A $2,000 option on both trims is the Off-Road Upgrade that adds a reinforced underbody shield and two front tow hooks. If you’d like a full-size spare, you can add one for $600 to $800, depending on your chosen wheel and tire package.

The R1T also has some unique options that you won’t find from other automakers. One is a Rivian Camp Kitchen that slides right out of the Gear Tunnel and comes with a complete kitchen set. Another is a 3-person tent that’s perched on top of the bed via included cargo crossbars.

Battery power, charge times, and range

The Rivian R1T comes with an all-electric powertrain. It has four electric motors, each powering an individual wheel, imparting the Rivian with standard all-wheel-drive. The motors are fed by a battery pack that’s packaged in the floor of the truck, maximizing interior and cargo space. The standard battery pack is good for 314 miles of range, according to the EPA, which also rates the R1T at 74 MPGe in the city and 66 MPGe on the highway. According to Rivian, the optional “Max pack” battery will offer 400+ miles of range.

See: This is what it would take to relieve Americans’ electric vehicle range anxiety

As for power, Rivian says the output of the R1T’s electric motors produces more than 800 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque. Those massive numbers explain how the truck can achieve a 0-60 mph time of as little as 3 seconds, according to Rivian. Perhaps most impressive is the claimed maximum towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds. If that number proves accurate, the performance and capability of the R1T will be somewhat better than the Ford F-150 Lightning and about on par with the GMC Hummer EV Pickup.

Four electric motors
EPA fuel economy: 74 mpg city/66 mpg highway
EPA range: 314 miles

Cox Automotive, parent company of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, is a minority investor in Rivian.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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