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Marques Brownlee

Marques Brownlee on... the Rivian R1T electric pick-up

We download YouTube’s #1 tech expert on whatever he’s been driving this month

Marques Brownlee - Hard Drive


    Rivian may be a start-up, it may have only been formed in 2009 and it may have only previewed its all-electric R1T concept in 2018, but it’s now manufacturing and delivering pickups to customers, meaning it has beaten Ford, Tesla and all the other big players in this segment to market. Impressive.

    The R1T has to be one of the most-hyped and most-promising EVs in recent times, and it should be heading to the UK in the next couple of years too. It’s a little larger than most European pickups like the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux, which means it’s actually considered ‘compact’ in the supersize-me world of the USA.

    The power figures are decidedly not small, though. Four permanent-magnet electric motors (two at the front and two at the rear) combine to make a total of 835bhp and over 900lb ft of torque. Whoa.

    Despite that, the R1T is marketed mainly as an off-road adventure truck and it has a tonne of features that make it really unique and compelling. It even has a tank turn mode that spins the wheels on either side in opposite directions, so you can do strange donuts in very confined spaces.

    Prices here start at $73,000, but you can easily spec an R1T to above $100,000 if you tick every box on the configurator for the full adventure experience.

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    GOOD - quality shows

    I love the storage that the R1T offers. The Gear Tunnel behind the rear seats and in front of the bed is super useful. The quality of the interior as a whole seems really strong, too.

    BAD - slow coach

    Everything in the R1T is controlled through a central screen as per Tesla. It’s laid out well, but I did find it a little slow to respond.


    GOOD - quick smart

    I love the way the R1T drives on-road. Here’s a fun fact – this is the third fastest EV that I’ve ever tested from 0–60mph. It’ll do the sprint in 3.0 flat, meaning in terms of cars I’ve driven it’s only beaten by the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. Incredible.

    BAD - ker-ching! 

    That price can get scary. Plus, Rivian charges an extra $10,000 for the Max Pack battery upgrade. That improves range from 314 miles to over 400, but there’ll also be a cheaper, circa 250-mile version at some point.

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    GOOD - the high life

    Ride quality is impressive. It uses air suspension that can raise or lower the chassis by up to 165mm so you can get up to 370mm of ground clearance when off-roading, but it’ll drop itself down when you’re on road and work with the active dampers to smooth over potholes.

    BAD - lighting up time 

    The front lightbar is polarising. When you’re plugged in and charging it lights up green, which is cool, but generally I think it looks a little too soft and friendly. I’d like the R1T to have a slightly more angular face.



    Nintendo Switch. The other consoles attack with raw power and are a bit more brutal, but this is cleverer, more versatile and more fun. 


    I don’t even need a truck but I really want one of these. It’s so good my mind goes straight to whether the charging network is good enough and whether Rivian can build them quick enough.

    THE DRIVE: 8/10

    THE TECH: 6/10

    THE WANT: 9/10

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