Rivian R1T: First Look Review

  • Rivian R1T Tesla Cybertruck's closest rival
  • Can carry a payload of up to 1,764 lbs. and tow up to 11,000 lbs.
  • Hits 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat and delivers up to 410 miles of range
  • Priced from USD 69,900

The Rivian R1T is one of the most extreme electric pickup trucks on the market and directly competes with the radically designed Tesla Cybertruck. Designed and engineered more for adventure lifestyle than work, the Rivian truck went on sale in the U.S. in late 2021 and is still one of the coolest EVs money can buy in its segment. I saw it in the metal recently and spent a good amount of time exploring its design and features. Here are my impressions of the Rivian R1T:

Design

The Rivian R1T is a handsome truck that smartly merges classic proportions with futuristic design elements. I think it has a brawny exterior, but it looks dapper, too, thanks to Rivian’s pursuit of minimalism and aerodynamic efficiency. In my opinion, the R1T’s stadium headlights are one of the most stylish iterations of vertically stacked headlights on a pickup truck. The thick, full-width daytime running light intersecting it and the full-width tail light give the electric truck a fantastic road presence.

Exposed tow hooks and front and rear fog lamps give the R1T a sporty and purposeful look, while flush-fitted door handles, like the high-tech headlights and tail lights, add to its sophistication. This particular unit features cargo cross bars and surfboard mounts as well, which cost an additional USD 625 and USD 350, respectively. The Gear Tunnel and a frunk offer extra storage space, and there’s an under-bed spare tire space as well. The bed also includes an air compressor, which can be used to fill the truck’s tires and inflatables like a portable swimming pool.

Interior

The interior of the Rivian R1T is like no other, combining truck-like aesthetics with the modern-day minimalism concept and digitalization. The dashboard is big and upright, but at the same time, its concave surface helps it look sleek. The chunky steering wheel and large center console also give a truck-like vibe. The cabin has several clever storage spaces, including under-seat compartments, but no glove box.

I particularly like the generous use of ash wood trim, which gives the R1T a raw and classy style. The seat covers are made of vegan leather, meaning luxury in this electric pickup truck doesn’t come with the guilt of animal cruelty. Rivian equips the R1T with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 15.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Both displays have brilliant graphics and catchy animations, and they impress on performance. My only gripe with the infotainment system is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

Rivian created the R1T primarily for American customers, so, as a six-foot-tall person, I had no issues with ingress or egress, neither in the front nor in the back. I felt that the large windshield, back glass, and windows offer great exterior visibility. The all-glass panoramic roof gives a sense of sitting in a spacious luxury vehicle and lets plenty of natural light into the cabin.

I found the heated steering wheel with an electrically adjustable column was grippy. The front seats also offer these functions and ventilation, too. I wish there were more buttons and switches in the cabin, but the few ones that are there are of high quality and give tactile feedback. I had plenty of legroom and headroom in the front, and the under-thigh support was also good.

In the back, I liked that a heating function was available to cope with cold weather. The angle of the fixed backrest was more upright than I liked, and the knee room was borderline good. The under-thigh support wasn’t bad for a pickup truck, while legroom and headroom were in abundance. Another point in the comfort aspect worth noting here is that the floor is completely flat, so it’s easy to switch positions and exit from the other side.

Specifications

The Rivian R1T is available in multiple configurations with different powertrains and battery packs to serve multiple customer segments, from those who focus on absolute performance to those who seek maximum range or the lowest possible energy consumption.

The base variant comes with two motors, one per axle, good for 533 hp and 610 lb.-ft. of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph as quickly as 4.5 seconds. It can be had with a battery pack with a net energy density of 106 kWh, 121 kWh, 131 kWh, or 141 kWh capacity. These battery packs give it a range of 270 miles, 315 miles, 352 miles (EPA-estimated), and 410 miles (EPA-estimated), respectively.

Rivian R1T bed live image

The middle variant upgrades to more capable motors that produce 655 hp and 829 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing the Rivian R1T to hit 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. It is available with the 121 kWh, 131 kWh, and 141 kWh battery pack options, with which it can deliver a range of 315 miles, 352 miles (EPA-estimated), and 410 miles (EPA-estimated), respectively.

The top-end variant sports two motors on both axles and allows fully independent torque vectoring. With 835 hp and 908 lb.-ft. of torque, the quad-motor powertrain lets the R1T zoom from a standstill to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat. The 131 kWh battery pack supplies energy to the four motors and delivers a range of 328 miles (EPA-estimated).

Rivian R1T side profile live image

Depending on the configuration chosen, the R1T can tow up to 11,000 lbs. and carry a payload of up to 1,764 lbs. The electric pickup truck offers 14.9 inches of ground clearance and more than 3 ft. of water-wading depth.

Price

The prices of the Rivian R1T start at USD 69,900 and go up to USD 94,000.

TopElectricSUV says

The Rivian R1T is a versatile pickup truck that can be as great of a premium adventure vehicle as a capable workhorse. Of course, it’s pretty expensive to be the latter, but its dual-purpose character is commendable. It’s great in style and comfort and superb in utility and practicality. If I were on the market for a new electric pickup truck with a USD 70,000 or higher budget, the Rivian R1T would be my pick over the Tesla Cybertruck.

Rivian R1T FAQs

What is the Rivian R1T price?

The prices of the Rivian R1T start at USD 69,900 and go up to USD 94,000.

Which models are Rivian R1T rivals?

The Rivian R1T competes with the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer EV Pickup.

What is the Rivian R1T range?

The Rivian R1T has an EPA-estimated range of up to 410 miles.