We’ve tested more than 150 electric vehicles, but only three of those faced the rigors of our long-term test. It all started with the 2015 Tesla Model S—the first to complete our full 40,000-mile regimen. That was followed by a 2019 Tesla Model 3. Our latest long-term electric—a Rivian R1T—shows just how far EVs have come. Four motors combine to produce 835 horsepower, wrapped in a striking exterior design and sporting an interior that avoids the cut-rate appearance of other EV offerings. Even if it hadn’t won a 10Best Trucks trophy in 2023, this is a vehicle we want to spend a lot of time in.
We spec’d a four-motor model with the medium-size 128.9-kWh battery, mostly because that is what was available, but a two-motor version has since been introduced. Ours also wears 20-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Elects. This spec is very similar to what we road-tested in the February 2022 issue, only it doesn’t have the off-road protection, a savings of roughly 120 pounds on our scales. But it isn’t as if the R1T is light. At 7054 pounds, it’s the third-heaviest long-term test car on record, behind two heavy-duty diesel pickups.
Initial impressions are favorable, with lots of praise going to the truck’s ride—a characteristic that with pickups usually earns derision, not admiration. Thus far, the annoyance of having to dig through multiple menus to find the odometer every time we charge our Red Canyon–painted truck (so we can diligently track energy usage) is the most frustrating part of R1T life. If that remains the case, it should be a relatively uneventful stay for our long-term Riv.
But, as senior editor Eric Stafford adeptly pointed out, “Sitting at fast-chargers gives us extra time to find things to nitpick.” The glass roof, for one. Rivian PR once jokingly called it “SPF 1000,” but a sunny 85-degree Michigan day offered more than enough solar gain to heat the cabin; a steel roof would likely boost efficiency and help trim curb weight, but the sum of these gripes still amounts to trifles.
In the R1T’s first major outing, associate news editor Caleb Miller took it to the Electric Forest music festival in rural northern Michigan. He learned that the truck is so new, the local constabulary didn’t think to check the gear tunnel for contraband—probably because they didn’t know it existed—which is good since Miller had more than his maximum allotment of hooch. Just think of the R1T as the Millennium Falcon of the auto world. But it wasn’t all good vibes. The portable camp speaker got stuck in its dock, which brings us to the not-so-lovely part of Rivian ownership: service.
Rivian’s small footprint in southeast Michigan means there’s just one service location. When we called to get the Bluetooth camp speaker repaired and unstuck, the earliest appointment was three months out. The speaker was one of three things we needed to address, but none of the R1T’s issues prevented us from driving it. Aside from the speaker, the right gear tunnel entrapment release (the same federally mandated opener you find in every new car’s trunk) is not functional, and because of a gaffe in our garage, we can’t commit any settings to the car’s memory. Thankfully, these fixes were covered under warranty.
Normally for things like this, we would have them addressed at routine maintenance intervals. But the Rivian maintenance schedule is as real as muffler bearings or blinker fluid. It’s essentially the crockpot of automotive service—set it and forget it. The only recommendation is to rotate the tires every 5000 miles. It’s wild to us, but evidently, to a startup EV manufacturer, a service schedule is an antiquated, unnecessary carryover.
Though we haven’t stretched the Rivian’s driving-range potential with any giant road trips yet, there are certainly many planned, especially as the holiday season nears. The charging infrastructure—or lack thereof—hasn’t slowed the Riv’s pace. Credit its smooth driving, comfortable cabin, useful shape, and thoughtful features (gear tunnel, frunk, air compressor) for its popularity.
We’ve come to tell enquiring strangers who desire a thoughtful comparison to their half-ton not to think of the R1T as a pickup, but rather to think of it as a really nice vehicle that just happens to be in the shape of a truck. We plan to test the range when towing a variety of trailers, which we already know won’t be great. But it’ll give us plenty of time to hunt for that pesky odometer.
Months in Fleet: 5 months Current Mileage: 9896 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 59 MPGe
Battery Capacity: 128.9 kWh Observed Driving Range: 250 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
2023 Rivian R1T Adventure
Vehicle Type: dual front- and dual rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
Base/As Tested: $74,800/$94,800
Options: Quad-motor all-wheel drive, $8000; large battery pack, $6,000; 20-inch all-terrain tires and dark wheels, $3500; Red Canyon paint, $2500
Front Motors (2): permanent magnet synchronous, 217 hp each
Rear Motors (2): permanent magnet synchronous, 219 hp each
Combined Power: 835 hp
Combined Torque: 908 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 128.9 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.5 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 220 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive
Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.5-in vented disc/12.9-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Elect All-Terrain Plus
275/65R-20 116H M+S 3PMSF RIV
Wheelbase: 135.8 in
Length: 217.1 in
Width: 79.3 in
Height: 78.2 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 59/48 ft3
Cargo Volume, Frunk/Gear Tunnel/Underbed: 11/12/14 ft3
Curb Weight: 7054 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS: NEW
60 mph: 3.1 sec
100 mph: 8.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.7 sec @ 111 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 111 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 179 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 356 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.80 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGING
Observed: 59 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 250 miles
Average DC Fast-Charge Rate, 10–90%: 115 kW
DC Fast-Charge Time, 10–90%: 59 min
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 64/69/60 MPGe
Range: 289 mi
5 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper
8 years/175,000 miles powertrain and battery
8 years/Unlimited miles corrosion protection
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
K.C. Colwell is Car and Driver’s executive editor, who covers new cars and technology with a keen eye for automotive nonsense and with what he considers to be great car sense, which is a humblebrag. On his first day at C/D in 2004, he was given the keys to a Porsche 911 by someone who didn’t even know if he had a driver’s license. He also is one of the drivers who set fast laps at C/D‘s annual Lightning Lap track test.
Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com