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More useful than a Cybertruck, but the 1,000hp+ quad motor feels like a nod to Tesla's influence

Good stuff

Improved build quality, updated sensors, ready to rumble

Bad stuff

Pricey, dense digital interface, steep learning curve

Overview

What is it?

This is the Rivian R1T, the EV off-roader with a truck bed for emission-free overlanding. Like the R1S SUV, the pickup has gone through a significant refresh, gaining a number of new interior and exterior features, power options and upgraded tech. All told, the changes give the R1T several quality-of-life improvements that make the electric truck even more enticing.

What’s changed?

The R1T has essentially been reworked from the inside out, with Rivian streamlining the truck’s electronic guts and making subtle changes to the exterior. Overall, the R1T retains the same silhouette and distinctive headlamp signature, but therein lie some of the most interesting tweaks to the exterior.

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The R1 vehicles now have adaptive beam tech to reduce glare for oncoming cars, along with RGB LEDs in the front and rear light strip. These bulbs can now display info in creative ways, like becoming a green progress bar while charging, or acting as directional hazard lights when stopped.

More substantial is the rearranged powertrain line-up. The AWD electric truck comes in a handful of flavors. The base dual motor setup provides 533hp and 610lb ft of torque, with a performance variant upping that to 665hp and 823lb ft. An all-new tri-motor option delivers 850hp and 1,103lb ft, while the ultra-powerful quad-motor set-up provides 1,025hp and 1,198lb ft. Strewth almighty.

Sooo… fast?

Yes, in the case of the quad motor. Disturbingly so. That option can send the R1T rocketing from 0 to 60mph in under 2.5 seconds, according to Rivian, and it can smash a quarter-mile run in under 10.5s, given the right conditions. This doesn’t mean the other power options are lacking, mind you. The new tri-motor can hit 60mph in 2.9s, while the performance dual-motor can muster it in 3.4s. None of which you’d call underbaked.

Surely that must limit the battery range?

If you’re doing a full send at every traffic light, yeah we imagine that would.bThere are four battery packs available: Standard (106kWh), Standard+ (121kWh), Large (131kWh) and Max (141kWh), which should set you up for 258 to 420 miles of range, depending on which motor config you’ve gone for. Whatever mileage spent can be recovered at a DC fast charger, filling up from 10 to 80 per cent in 41 minutes with some of the batteries, all of which can be used on NACS-equipped superchargers with a provided adaptor.

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Any other EV pickups out there challenging the R1T?

Two come to mind. Ford’s F-150 Lightning is properly set up for utility and versatility, and most of what it offers is provided before it even sets off on the road. The comparably-priced Ford rivals the R1T in familiarity since it’s based off a truck that’s been part of the American automotive fabric for, conservatively, a million-ish years.

Due to this, the Lightning is going to ease the transition from combustion to electricity for those crossing over far better than the Rivian. By the same token, the Lightning will feel hum-drum to the more tech-savvy customer that Rivians appeal to.

If you’re looking for a far more ostentatious electric pickup, Tesla’s Cybertruck is certainly a choice you can make. It may not be as useful as the Lightning or the R1T, but it’s zeitgeisty. So if you’re cool with driving around in an internet meme, well, you probably have a deposit down already.

What's the verdict?

It’s still the closest thing yet to the EV adventure pickup we’ve been dreaming about

Rivian’s R1T might not be the most rugged pickup to kick up dirt, but it’s very capable. Which is quite a feat from a young automaker trailblazing in the wild frontier that is electrified off-roading. It’s still the closest thing yet to the EV adventure pickup we’ve been dreaming about, and the recent refinements make it that much better.

Its range and allows for a great deal of enjoyment on and off the road. Its capability for the latter means it’s not just sporting wilderness gear for the fashion; it can put it to use. Though given its price tag, we’d be hesitant to truly knock one around.

The cabin design befits the Rivian character, being tech-forward and outdoorsy, though much of the effort to streamline the cabin results in an overworked, over-engineered digital interface tasked with more functions than it can really handle. The touchscreen itself is fairly easy to navigate, though it would score higher if it wasn’t so needlessly dense. Apart from that, the R1T’s menus and drive display are vivid and communicative, particularly when it comes to presenting features that enhance the driver’s situational awareness.

On the road, the R1T feels unique due to its mix of EV behavior and truck characteristics, resulting in a ride that’s sturdy without being jarring. On top of it all, the R1T is pretty quick, too. 

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