MotoTrend: The 2022 Rivian R1T Is the Most Remarkable Pickup We’ve Ever Driven

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The 2022 Rivian R1T Is the Most Remarkable Pickup We’ve Ever Driven

Yep, we drove it. Are you ready for the electric truck revolution?

2022-Rivian-R1T-1.jpg

Darren MartinPhotographer

Aug 31, 2021

The 2022 Rivian R1T is the first mass-produced electric truck to hit the U.S. market, but that's hardly the most interesting thing about it. Its electric powertrain notwithstanding, the R1T is unlike any pickup we've ever driven—part truck, part sport sedan, and 100 percent amazing. It's been speculated that pickup buyers are too conservative to embrace electrification, but after our first drive in a pre-production Rivian R1T, both on-road and off-, we think this is the electric truck that will turn them into believers.


There's so much we want to tell you about the Rivian R1T that it's difficult to pick a place to start, so let's begin with the basic layout. Sizewise, the R1T is a tweener, slotting somewhere between a midsize pickup like the Chevy Colorado and a traditional half-tonner like the Ford F-150. The Rivian R1T's shape and compact bed mimic those of "lifestyle" trucks like the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz, but it'll tow 11,000 pounds according to Rivian and rock crawl like a Jeep Gladiator according to us. And it jets around corners like no pickup truck ever has.

Four Motors, No Waiting
Rivian's killer apps are its powertrain and suspension setup. The R1T features a four-motor, four-wheel-drive system with a height-adjustable air suspension and interconnected hydraulics for damping and roll control. Like many EVs, it is very quick: The two motors at each axle deliver 415 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels and 420 horses and 495 lb-ft to the rears, and Rivian claims a 0-60 time of 3.0 seconds. We've yet to turn an R1T over to our test team, but we think that number is eminently possible.

A motor powering each corner also means remarkable agility on- or off-road. With each wheel independently powered, the Rivian R1T offers real-time torque vectoring, delivering power precisely to the corner where it's needed with no delays for clutches to close or viscous couplings to couple. Rivian's electric truck takes full advantage of this by providing a plethora of drive modes and submodes that prove how programmable and adaptable the platform is.


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Rivian R1T On-Road: The Beauty Of Torque Vectoring
The standard on-road drive mode is aptly called All-Purpose, and if you never switched the Rivian R1T out of this default setting, you'd still find it to be remarkably swift and sure-footed. The R1T jets away from traffic lights, rides comfortably, and holds a quick, steady line through sweeping curves. If you're worried about stretching the limits of the R1T's 300-mile estimated range (there's a 400-mile battery pack coming, too), the R1T can be switched to two-wheel drive—only the front wheels are powered, making it front-wheel drive—to conserve power in a drive mode aptly dubbed "Conserve."

We were enjoying the Rivian plenty through twists and turns when we engaged in an experiment of sorts: We activated Sport mode, pushed hard enough into a sharp bend to provoke a little understeer, and then nailed the throttle. We felt the R1T's torque-vectoring superpowers at work: The outside-rear motor powered up and brought the R1T's nose around, and we blasted out of the turn like the Millennium Falcon—and this with four occupants in the cab, several hundred pounds of gear in the bed, and all-terrain tires. It's a sensation we've experienced in only a handful of cars, and never in a heavily laden pickup truck.

Rivian R1T Off-Road: Tread Lightly—And Silently
The R1T has a separate set of drive modes for off-roading, and they allow the driver to raise the suspension and ease throttle response in various degrees. This allows the same truck that flies through paved curves to tip-toe over obstacles that might give even a Jeep Wrangler pause. Unlike an internal combustion off-roader, the Rivian has no low-hanging bits like driveshafts and differentials and exhaust pipes, just a smooth, flat undertray from which the wheels and their attachments protrude. Ground clearance starts at a very usable 7.9 inches and extends to 14.4, the latter exceeding the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon's dirt-to-truck number by 3.3 inches. The R1T also has a built-in air compressor, so you can air down the tires for off-roading with the knowledge you can easily pump 'em back up for pavement.

2022-Rivian-R1T-6.jpg


Off-roading in the R1T is a mind-bender. It moves smoothly and silently, its four-motor drivetrain sensing slip and meting out power to each wheel as needed. There is no crawler gear ratio to engage, no differentials to lock, no anti-roll bars to release; just steer and apply appropriate throttle, and the R1T simply drives over whatever you point it at with eerie smoothness and silence—the loudest sound we heard was the crunching of pebbles under its tires. The R1T's superhero regenerative braking system also ensures it slows as well as it goes, so the R1T doesn't run away on steep downgrades.

The Rivian's regenerative brakes probably deserve their own separate story, but we'll give them a paragraph here. The R1T has four user-selectable levels of regeneration. Drivers who aren't familiar or comfortable with one-pedal driving—an EV feature whereby the driver needs only work the accelerator in most situations, as the electric motors slow the vehicle when you lift off—can leave it in Low or Medium and the R1T slows in a manner comparable to engine braking in a gasoline-powered car. We preferred Maximum mode for off-road driving, though, as it allowed us precise speed control without worry of locking the wheels as we might with the friction brakes. Out on the open road, Maximum mode equated to getting on the binders pretty hard, so we dialed back to High. The R1T's regenerative brake setup is powerful enough to bring the truck to a halt, and we only needed the brake pedal for panic stops.

A Place For Your Stuff
2022-Rivian-R1T-31.jpg


Obviously, we were pretty well blown away with the way the Rivian R1T drives, and we think most pickup buyers will be, as well. But there are other impressive aspects of its personality, and one is storage. The Rivian's powertrain is arranged rather like a skateboard. Keeping a traditional pickup shape left room for a large cargo bay under the power-operated hood. There's also a full-width (transverse!) pass-through behind the rear seats and ahead of the bed, which Rivian calls the Gear Tunnel. Among the things you can fill it with is an optional ($5,000) kitchen that can be outfitted with a full set of Snow Peak utensils and an induction range. And the bed offers a lockable tonneau cover—electrically powered, naturally.

Conversely, interior storage for small odds and ends is a little lacking, but for the most part we liked the R1T's cab, particularly the comfortable front seats and excellent visibility. The rear seat is not particularly comfortable for taller riders, mostly thanks to the upright backrest angle and firm cushion, though legroom isn't an issue.

Possible Flaw: The Rivian R1T's User Interface
If there was one thing about this truck that gave us pause, it's the user interface. Rivian has taken a Tesla-like approach, minimizing the use of physical switchgear in favor of touchscreen menus and multipurpose buttons on the steering wheel. Even the air conditioning vents must be adjusted through the screen, a Tesla Model 3-aping feature that seems nifty at first but quickly reveals itself to be a major pain in the posterior—who wants to swipe through the climate menu just to adjust a vent?

2022-Rivian-R1T-12.jpg


We loved the screens' crisp graphics and smooth animations, but the menu system has a high learning curve. On several occasions we found ourselves unable to adjust the cruise control speed because the steering wheel buttons were still set to adjust the mirrors and steering column. Some of our staffers (primarily the younger ones) had no trouble breezing through the menus, but others found it overwhelming. That said, we drove pre-production trucks whose user interface was still being updated and finalized. Rivian's engineers were eager for our feedback, and we're hopeful the software in production trucks will be more user-friendly.

2022 Rivian R1T: This Changes Everything
Our first drive of the Rivian R1T left us very impressed, not just with the truck but with the prospect of what electrification can do for one of America's most popular vehicle segments. The Rivian R1T feels like a vehicle of the future, but it also feels like one very well grounded in the here and now. It hauls and tackles difficult terrain as well as or better than internal combustion pickups, and its combination of on-pavement handling prowess and off-road finesse is simply unmatched in any other current truck. If the Rivian R1T is the future of the pickup truck—and we certainly think it is—then the future cannot come quickly enough. —Aaron Gold


2022 Rivian R1T Specifications
PRICE$67,500-$73,000 (est)
LAYOUTFront- and rear-motor, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
MOTORS2 x 208-hp/207-lb-ft front plus 2 x 210-hp/248-lb-ft rear AC permanent-magnet electric, 835 hp/908 lb-ft (comb)
TRANSMISSION1-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT7,000 lb (est)
WHEELBASE135.9 in
L x W x H217.1 x 79.3 x 69.5-75.6 in
0-60 MPH3.0 sec (mfr est)
EPA FUEL ECONNot yet tested
ON SALESeptember, 2021

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If you go to the MotorTrend article there are quite a few more pictures of the Rivian that you can see.

Warren Redlich has a video about the Rivian based on this article. I think he makes a very valid point.




And earlier he had a short video specifically about CT weight.




Thing is, the Rivian looks like it can do so much. But with the severe limitation on weight-bearing, it really is limited in what it can do. Now I'm guessing that the truck is probably strong enough to carry significantly more weight but then you would be taking on additional unregulated risks. Plus, what would that do for the warranty? Seems like a serious limitation. Especially when the CT can keep its weight down to allow for much more serious load capacity.
 
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Another point of interest.

The R1T also has a built-in air compressor, so you can air down the tires for off-roading with the knowledge you can easily pump 'em back up for pavement.
The CT will also have an air compressor. The interesting thing here is that there is no mention of auto inflate or deflate of tires. This is pretty expected but it also means that if you want to lower and raise the air pressure for offroading, you will need to bring along an air compressor hose extension to reach each of the tires. Plus, you will need to pack your truck such that the air compressor outlet and controls can easily be reached when you want to pump up the tires again.

Probably not a huge issue but based on the images in the article, it looks like the air compressor outlet is in the side of the bed. So you will need to move anything on that side of the bed out of the way to get access to the port.

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I'm kind of expecting a similar set up for the CT. Though there have been people wishing for auto inflate and deflate of the tires (much like the old ICE Hummer had). The convenience of that would be nice but the added hardware and maintenance might not be wanted and might increase the price. But Elon has shocked us with some other features so who knows.

EDIT: Turns out that MotorTrend did experience a flat or two and wrote about the experience changing tires. I've added that article to a separate thread.
 
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Yikes. Those are kinda painful specs for Rivian. Gen 1 is always the "pioneer gets the arrows" phase.
 

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im excited to see more Electric trucks out there.
but personally this one is kind of lame looking.
and am I seeing a 300mile range of the base model thats as much $$ as the trimotor Cybertruck?
 
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I do like the attach points on the front of the Rivian. Though I don't see a way to attach a winch.

Also, with a 7000 lb vehicle, what kind of a winch will be required to pull this thing out of a stuck situation? Will other offroaders have the power to pull this thing out?


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Also interesting. Looks like below the frunk there is a subfrunk. With all that extra space, one could hope for a spare somewhere.

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Yikes. Those are kinda painful specs for Rivian. Gen 1 is always the "pioneer gets the arrows" phase.
My first thought was of Saint Sebastian.

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I'm not seeing Rivian as a saint but the arrows reference gave me the link. Interesting though, according to Wikipedia:

He was initially tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows, though this did not kill him. He was, according to tradition, rescued and healed by Saint Irene of Rome, which became a popular subject in 17th-century painting. In all versions of the story, shortly after his recovery he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins, and as a result was clubbed to death.
So hopefully your reference to arrows will hold somewhat true and Rivian R1T will not die from the barbs of reviewers.

On the other hand, with the serious weight issues, who knows if offroaders will accept this beast or if they will just club it to death.
 

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Rivian is still a solid second place for my interest. One of the main issues for me is cost versus cabin space.

Maybe I am biased, a Large spacious interior in the CT is underestimated. Ant shake a stick either at the CT’s price.
 
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There are a few videos with the article too.

My favorite quote from the videos about the Rivian R1T:

Christian Seabaugh: It's the ultimate El Camino.
Aaron Gold: The ultimate El Camino is what it really is. No mullet required.
 
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Rivian R1T, R1S Range and Economy Figures Revealed by EPA
The electric truck and SUV have impressive range, but will it be enough to compete?

Sep 3, 2021

When we finished our recent drive of the 2022 Rivian R1T, the EPA still hadn't finalized its range and efficiency figures for the electric pickup truck, so the best we had to go on was the company's internal estimate of around 300 miles on a full charge. Now the EPA has weighed in after testing the 2022 Rivian R1T pickup and its R1S SUV sibling.

For one, Rivian's estimate seems to have panned out. The EPA rates the pickup for 314 miles of range, while the SUV comes in at 316. And this is for R1T and R1S trucks and SUVs fit with Rivian's "smaller" battery pack.

The 135-kWh pack (133 kWh usable) is small only in regard to what the company wants to offer in the future; it's the biggest on the market, at least until the gargantuan 200-kWh pack in the GMC Hummer EV shows up.

The burning question, of course, is how the Rivian's range figures will compare to its rivals. The ones that come to mind are Tesla's large Model X SUV, and the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning. The less trucklike 2021 Model X Long Range has a significant advantage in EPA testing, making the most of its 100 kWh battery pack to provide a total of 371 miles of range. Its Performance variant with the large 22-inch wheels, however, falls just short of the Rivian twins at 300 miles of rated range. Both are more efficient overall, with the Long Range achieving 32 kWh per 100 miles, and the Performance 39 kWh/100 miles. The Rivian R1T manages 48 kWh/100 miles, and the R1S 49 kWh/100 miles.

That's apples-to-apples, with EPA figures. The Ford F-150 Lightning, meanwhile, isn't on sale yet and firm details on the full-size pickup are hard to come by. We don't know its battery pack(s) size, and we don't have EPA range estimates yet. But Ford's internal range estimates are certainly in the ballpark. Ford is targeting at least 300 miles of range, which seems to be the new standard for EVs in this size and capability class, and would put it right on par with the Rivian twins.

Not to mention the other truckish contenders in the works, which are also further off and haven't been EPA tested, like the Tesla Cybertruck (recently delayed further), the Bollinger B2, Canoo pickup, and others. It's an exciting, crowded prospective field, but by beating them all to market Rivian stands to really set itself apart, and become the initial benchmark for the class. Considering what we experienced in the R1T firsthand, we'd say it's a high bar to clear.
 

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And this is for R1T and R1S trucks and SUVs fit with Rivian's "smaller" battery pack.
The "Smaller" battery pack which Rivian calls "Large", not to be confused with the "Small" battery pack Rivian has said they are planning to release down the road.

I mean... technically it is smaller than the "Max" Pack, but this article will not age well.
 

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The 2022 Rivian R1T Is the Most Remarkable Pickup We’ve Ever Driven
Yep, we drove it. Are you ready for the electric truck revolution?
Darren Martin
Aug 31, 2021
.....

2022 Rivian R1T Specifications
PRICE$67,500-$73,000 (est)
LAYOUTFront- and rear-motor, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
MOTORS2 x 208-hp/207-lb-ft front plus 2 x 210-hp/248-lb-ft rear AC permanent-magnet electric, 835 hp/908 lb-ft (comb)
TRANSMISSION1-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT7,000 lb (est)
WHEELBASE135.9 in
L x W x H217.1 x 79.3 x 69.5-75.6 in
0-60 MPH3.0 sec (mfr est)
EPA FUEL ECONNot yet tested
ON SALESeptember, 2021
--------------------------------

Curb weight of Rivian R1T is way too heavy. Worse than Ford-F-150 Lightning. Weight class limit is 8,500 lbs total for vehicle, driver, passengers, additional payload of luggage / coolers / sports gear / tools / food / beverages / ice in cabin, frunk, bed, and payload of trailer tongue weight (10-15% of trailer weight). The Rivian R1T is so heavy that if owners have a pretty normal full load of driver/passengers (5 adults), luggage, coolers, hunting/fishing gear, tools, etc ( 1,500 lbs total for cabin, frunk, bed) the truck will not be able to support even a 6,000 lbs loaded trailer.

With R1T's 7,000lbs curb weight, the R1T would need to be less than half empty (only driver, 1 adult passenger, 100lbs total of gear/tools/food/beverages/ice) when towing 11,000 lb trailer.

A NFL linebacker driving a R1T carrying 4 of his Linebacker buddies plus coolers of beers and food, sporting equipment and NO trailer could easily go over the 8,500lbs limit.
This example would not be a problem for most ICE 1/2-ton full-size pickups. Should not be a problem with 500mi Trimotor Cybertruck carrying all those people & stuff plus 11,000lb trailer.

All of this will be worse for R1T with the optional 400 miles ( and much heavier) battery pack which will reduce usable payload even more.

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How Tongue Weight Works
By: Scott C. Benjamin | Updated: Apr 6, 2021
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/information/tongue-weight.htm

.....
Most experts agree that an acceptable tongue weight for any trailer is somewhere between 9 and 15 percent of the gross trailer weight (GTW). There's good reasoning behind these numbers, too. It all comes down to trailer towing safety.

If the tongue of the trailer does not exert enough downward force on the tow vehicle's hitch ball -- meaning that the trailer's tongue weight is too light -- a dangerous condition called trailer sway could result.

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Tongue Weight Is Key To Safe Towing - GMC Life
Properly loading a trailer to maintain a proper tongue weight is paramount, especially when it comes to handling.
https://www.gmc.com/gmc-life/trucks/why-tongue-weight-is-important-for-safe-towing

--------------------------------

Trailer too light for tow vehicle?
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f72/trailer-too-light-for-tow-vehicle-79710.html

.....
05-12-2017, #4
Cat futrell
Name: Cathy
The way it is loaded makes a huge difference in how it pulls. Because of how light the trailer is, doesn't take much to throw off the pull. Too heavy on the front and the the trailer will fishtail. To heavy in the back and it flops and jerks. I have corrected a pull by relocating a large toolbox from the rear of the cabin to the front. You could hook up to a smaller tow vehicle, without changing the load, if you have doubts.

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