2023 Rivian R1S: Everything we know as of Jan 2023 [Update]

  • Rivian's first SUV offers 3-row seating, targeting the outdoorsy & adventurous
  • Delivers an EPA-est. range of up to 321 miles
  • Available with a quad-motor layout that enable four-wheel torque vectoring
  • Priced from USD 78,000 & availability is still limited

Update: ‘Powertrain’ sub-section of ‘Rivian R1S Specifications’ updated.

Rivian is making steady progress with its EVs, and the R1S SUV is leading the charge alongside the R1T pickup. The R1S packs quirky features, an efficient design, and an impressive range. Customers can also have the R1S in different drivetrain and battery configurations.

Here’s everything we know about the 2023 Rivian R1S.

Design

The 2023 Rivian R1S has a traditional two-box SUV design. While most manufacturers are going beyond the textbook rules with overly done cuts and creases and complex touches, Rivian has adopted a new type of minimalist approach. It works exceptionally well, making the 2023 Rivian R1S look futuristic without compromising on its toughness. Like its pickup sibling, the R1S has a full-width LED light bar up front that also doubles up as a charging status indicator.

The hood is high off the ground and has subtle character lines. The front bumper houses the air intake to cool the battery and has two tow hooks, a chunky metal skid plate, and integrated horizontal fog lamps. The SUV comes with 21-inch magnesium-aluminum alloys wrapped in road tires as standard. Three 20-inch all-terrain tires and two 22-inch low-profile tires are available as paid options.

From the side profile, the R1S looks long and rectangular. Even though there aren’t any sophisticated aerodynamic principles applied to this box, Rivian has provided flush door handles as standard. A thick C-pillar that houses the brand logo separates the rear quarter glass from the glass area. The full-width LED bar at the rear accentuates the width. Thanks to their fluid design, the side body cladding and the front and rear bumpers seem like one unit.

The LA Silver color is standard. There are eight other options to choose from, each costing USD 1,750 or USD 2,500 extra.

Interior & features

The 2023 Rivian R1S is a 7-seater. The middle and third-row seats can fold, allowing owners to mix and match the seating configuration depending on the requirement. The seats fold flat, so sliding up items from the boot can be smooth. The total enclosed storage space in the R1S is up to 105 cu ft. Rivian hasn’t conducted press drives of the R1S yet, so there are no reports on whether the third row can accommodate adults comfortably or just children.

Rivian offers three interior options for the R1S Adventure: Black Mountain (standard), Ocean Coast (USD 2,000 extra), and Forest Edge (USD 2,000 extra). All three of them include vegan leather seats with patterned stitching, Compass Yellow accents, and natural grained ash wood finishes, making the cabin appear truly upmarket.

The 2023 Rivian R1S has an extra-large, 15.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system with LTE and Wi-Fi capability, Bluetooth connectivity, and support for Alexa voice commands and OTA updates. However, there’s no Apple CarPlay, which many owners may find disappointing. A 12.3-inch digital cluster showcases driving information like range, charging status, gear position, and more. There’s also a panoramic sunroof and a Meridian sound system.

The Launch Edition comes with all the bells and whistles. Launch Edition customers get priority delivery, Launch Edition interior badging, a special Launch Green paint color option, and 20-inch All-Terrain or 22-inch Sport wheel upgrade options without having to pay extra. That said, the cabin is devoid of physical buttons and has many storage spaces.

OTA updates & new modes

Rivian has issued several software updates for the R1S to add new features. Just in time for winter, the company released a Snow mode on December 20, 2022. The company’s tenth dedicated drive mode softens the accelerator response and prevents slip and when lock during deceleration by using a new ‘Low’ default brake regeneration level to stop the R1S in a more controlled manner in slippery conditions.

On November 30, 2022, Rivian introduced a feature called Roomy entry and exit. This feature lets the driver select the most comfortable position of the steering wheel and seat for entering and exiting their R1S and save it as their preferred setting. The vehicle automatically makes the required adjustments to bring these elements to the saved position each time the driver parks their vehicle and unbuckles their seatbelt. The seat and steering wheel remain in this potion until the driver re-enters, taps the brake, and shifts into gear, which returns them to their preferred driving position.

The Roomy entry and exit feature complements the Kneel mode, which Rivian announced on October 27, 2022. Kneel mode lowers the ride height by about 10 inches and retains that level until the driver starts driving again. On August 30, 2022, the company had rolled out another interesting addition called Camp mode. This mode makes camping more comfortable and convenient and gives the vehicle the ability to level itself when the driver has parked on uneven or sloped terrain. This process can take anywhere from 20 seconds to a few minutes depending on the terrain’s unevenness.

On July 1, 2022, Rivian introduced a ‘Pet Comfort’ mode similar to Tesla’s Dog mode. Drivers can enable the Pet Comfort mode to keep their pets in the vehicle safe while away by simply tapping on a paw icon in the upper right corner of the touchscreen. If there’s enough charge left to cover a distance of 50+ miles, they can set the cabin temperature to 68-78°F.

Rivian’s Gear Guard character and a temperature readout appear on the screen, along with a readout for people passing by the vehicle that the pets are safe. The Pet Comfort mode remains activated until manually disabled/battery depletion.

Ergonomic design for rear seats

Rivian has smartly engineered the rear seats and the tailgate of the R1S. The rear has two tailgates: one that opens upwards electronically by pressing a button, and the lower tailgate that folds flat like a loading platform. The upper tailgate also has lamps; if the customers are in a poorly-lit location, it illuminates the loading area. The boot also has hooks that slide back and forth and can be used for attaching gear. And lastly, the second and the third rows fold flat at the touch of a button to open up acres of room to accommodate large items.

Rivian R1S Specifications

The 2023 Rivian R1S measures 200.8 inches long, 81.8 inches wide, and 77.3 inches tall. It has a 121.1-inch wheelbase. It’s nearly 17 inches shorter than its pickup sibling and almost 1 inch lower. The R1S is about 2 inches longer than the Tesla Model X and the Ford Explorer.

Powertrain

There are two drivetrain options on the 2023 Rivian R1S: a quad-motor AWD layout with one electric motor for each wheel and a dual-motor AWD option with one electric motor on each axle. The quad motor set-up is good for 835 hp and 908 lb-ft, blasting the R1T from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds. The dual-motor set-up isn’t a slouch by any means, producing a combined output of more than 600 hp and a combined torque of more than 600 lb.-ft. It allows a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds.

Soon, Rivian will start offering a third variant called ‘enhanced dual-motor AWD’ in the R1S. Customers who buy the SUV in the dual-motor AWD variant will be able to upgrade to the enhanced dual-motor AWD variant simply through a software upgrade.

The enhanced dual-motor AWD produces approximately 700 hp and more than 700 lb.-ft. of torque. They enable a lower 0-60 mph acceleration time of 3.5 seconds. Off-road driving dynamics are the same as those of the dual-motor AWD variant. The enhanced dual-motor AWD variant is for customers who want more power than the dual-motor variant but not the extreme performance or capabilities of the quad-motor AWD variant.

On December 27, 2022, Mason Verbridge, Principal Drive Unit Design Engineer, Rivian, revealed in a video on Twitter that the production of the single-motor drive unit, which will go into the R1S dual-motor AWD and also the R1S enhanced dual-motor AWD, is just a few months away. The company is setting up the new drive unit’s production line in Normal (Illinois), USA. It is in the final steps of validation at the drive unit assembly level. It has been testing this drive unit in its vehicles for about a year and a half now, Verbridge said.

Battery & Range

Rivian has announced two battery pack options – Standard (105 kWh) and Large (135 kWh). However, it will offer the Standard pack from 2024, which means that only a single long-range battery is available currently.

Rivian expects the R1S dual-motor AWD with the Standard battery pack to deliver a range of over 260 miles. The company is yet to reveal the range of the R1S dual-motor AWD with the Large pack. It hasn’t disclosed the range figures of the R1S enhanced dual-motor AWD either, nor stated whether it will offer the new variant with the Standard battery pack or the Large battery pack or both.

The R1S quad-motor AWD isn’t available with the Standard battery pack, probably because its range would be too low. The Large battery pack is standard and the only offering in the R1S’ quad-motor AWD variant.

The 2022 R1S quad-motor AWD with the Large battery pack (Launch Edition) used to deliver an EPA-est. range of 316 miles. Unlike the 2022 model, the 2023 model is available with three different wheel size options: 20-inch, 21-inch, and 22-inch. The 2023 R1S quad-motor AWD with the Large battery pack delivers an EPA-est. range of 289 miles if specified with 20-inch wheels, 321 miles if specified with the 21-inch wheels, and 303 miles if specified with 22-inch wheels.

The battery pack and the drivetrain come with an eight-year/175,000-mile warranty, whichever comes first. The long warranty period is a testament to Rivian’s belief in the reliability of its offerings.

Charging

charging port
Rivian chargers will be powered by 100% green energy sources and have an output of 200 kW. Image: Rivian

By the end of 2023, Rivian plans to have 3,500 DC fast chargers across 600 sites in North America. Along with level 2 AC chargers, Rivian’s entire network is projected to comprise 10,000 chargers by the end of 2023. They will be powered by 100% green energy sources and have an output of 200 kW, eventually increasing to 300 kW. The connected car technology lets owners locate charging stations and monitor charging status through the Rivian app.

Rivian Adventure Network

Rivian is working on making electrified adventures a reality by setting up charging stations under a ‘Rivian Adventure Network’ at adventure hotspots. On June 27, 2022, the company announced it opened the Rivian Adventure Network’s first three Level 3 DC fast-charging sites in Colorado and California. These sites offer charging at over 200 kW, allowing customers to add as many as 140 miles to the range of their Rivian vehicles in just 20 minutes.

The first Rivian Adventure Network charging site, located in Salida (CO), opened on June 26, 2022, and has four chargers. It has four Level 2 Rivian Waypoints chargers as well, meaning non-Rivian EVs can also use this charging site. The second and third sites, located in Inyokern (CA) and Bishop (CA), respectively, opened on June 28, 2022, and June 29, 2022, respectively. The two sites cater to customers traveling to Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia National Forest, and such other frequently visited spots.

Aspect2023 Rivian R1S Specification
Length (in.)200.8
Width (in.)81.8
Height (in.)77.3
Wheelbase (in.)121.1
Power and drivetrain layoutdual-motor AWD / enhanced dual-motor AWD / quad-motor AWD
Horsepower600+ hp / 700+ hp / 835 hp
Torque600+ lb-ft / 700+ lb.-ft. / 908 lb.-ft.
Battery105 kWh (Standard) / 135 kWh (Large)
Range Up to 260 miles (Standard – company est.) / up to 321 miles (Large – EPA-est.)
Charging (DC)200 kW
Towing capacityUp to 7,700 lbs
Total storage area105 cu ft
2023 Rivian R1S specifications (Source: Rivian)

Off-road capabilities

The 2023 Rivian R1S comes with adaptive air suspension as standard. The system can raise the ground clearance up to 14.9 inches, to help the SUV clear large obstacles. The suspension can also be lowered to 8.8 inches while loading cargo or to aid ingress and egress. That said, the R1S gets approach, departure, and breakover angles of 35.6, 34.3 and 29.6 degrees. Additionally, it is capable of wading through more than 3 feet of water.

There are eight driving modes, of which four are off-road modes including Off-Road Auto, Off-Road Rock Crawl, Off-Road Rally and Off-Road Drift. The R1S with the quad motor AWD set-up can control torque on each wheel independently, eliminating the need for differentials. The Off-Road Rally mode activates torque vectoring to distribute torque between the wheels depending on the grip. On the dual-motor AWD, the torque split is adjusted between the front and the rear axles only, and not between individual wheels.

Aspect2023 Rivian R1S Specification
Approach angle35.6 degrees
Departure angle34.3 degrees
Breakover angle29.6 degrees
Ground Clearance (maximum)14.9 inches
Water wadingOver 3 feet
Off-Road modesAuto, Rally, Rock Crawl, Drift
Rivian R1S off-road specifications (Source: Rivian)

Sand mode, Pet mode and Dashcam features to be rolled out via OTA

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe stated (via Twitter) on April 26, 2022, that the R1S SUV and the R1T Pickup will get a new Sand mode, Pet mode, and a dashcam feature through over-the-air (OTA) updates. He released a video on Twitter where an R1S, mounted with the U.S. flag on the bonnet, can be seen hurling sand into the air, with its rear wheels spinning fasting than its front wheels. The Sand mode will alter torque output between the front and the rear axles to maximize traction, making the SUV more capable in the desert. Rivian will also introduce, via OTA, a Pet mode and a dashcam feature that will allow owners to leave their pets in a locked vehicle in a safe and climate-controlled environment.

First impressions

Rivian conducted a media drive of the R1S in July 2022. Travis Langness, Edmunds’ Senior Reviews Editor, says (via YouTube) that the R1S offers top-notch acceleration and handling. It is just as good to drive as the R1T and gives a more comfortable ride on highways. YouTube channel PRNDL by Jordan Golson’s review states the R1S as offering endless acceleration even when driving uphill.

Micah Muzio, Kelly Blue Book’s Managing Editor (Video), is particularly impressed by how Rivian has tuned the R1S’ regenerative braking. It can bring the EV to a complete stop so smoothly that the driver can’t even tell when the deceleration ended. Tim Stevens, editor at large, CNET Cars, tested the R1S on an off-road trail where there was mud, rocks, and everything else but tarmac, and he says that it is remarkable in this aspect (via Youtube). The SUV is better than the R1T in off-road driving, which is obvious because of its shorter length and wheelbase.

2023 Rivian R1S Price & Rivals

Rivian had launched the R1S in Explore, Adventure, and Launch Edition variants. However, it has discontinued the Explore variant due to low demand.

The R1S Launch Edition, priced at USD 90,000, was already sold out before the R1S Explore discontinuation. Hence, only the R1S Adventure is available to reserve, with prices starting at USD 78,000. Customers who reserved the R1S Explore can either shell out an extra USD 5,500 and upgrade to the R1S Adventure (the latest by September 1, 2022) or cancel their reservation and get a refund.

The R1S Launch Edition has the Quad-Motor powertrain and the Large battery pack as standard. The R1S Adventure (USD 78,000) has the Dual-Motor powertrain and the Standard battery pack. The R1S Launch Edition’s Quad-Motor powertrain and Large battery pack are available as optional upgrades, priced at USD 8,000 and USD 6,000, respectively. Selecting the Quad-Motor powertrain option mandates checking the Large battery pack option.

Rivian R1S variants2023 Rivian R1S Price
Explore (Discontinued)USD 72,500
AdventureUSD 78,000
Launch Edition (Sold-out)USD 90,000
Latest 2023 Rivian R1S prices in the U.S. (Source: Rivian)

The Tesla Model X is touted to be the 2023 Rivian R1S rival. However, both models have vastly different appeals. Besides, the Model X costs USD 120,990 onwards, which makes the Rivian SUV seem much more affordable.

Production & Deliveries

Rivian makes the R1S at its Normal plant. The company started delivering its first electric SUV to customers in the home market last year. There’s long waiting periods involved though, as production is slow because of component shortages. On November 9, 2022, Rivian had 114,000+ pre-orders for the R1T and R1S combined.

R1S deliveries technically started in December 2021, but the first cars went to the company’s CEO and CFO (as per Electrek). It was at the end of August 2022 that we started seeing non-employee customers getting their R1S keys, and one of them was Rivian Forums user fletch.

Rivian has two separate body shops on the factory grounds—one for the R1 series vans, and another for other commercial vehicles. Similarly, there are two general assembly lines, and on one of them, the company builds both R1T and R1S from around 2,000 components, which it sources from roughly 400 suppliers.

Rivian-Manufacturing-Normal-10
The R1S SUV on the assembly line at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois. Image: Rivian

Rivian has confirmed plans to expand its manufacturing by constructing a second facility in Georgia starting this summer. The upcoming ‘carbon conscious’ campus would be located east of Atlanta, in Morgan and Walton counties. Rivian would invest USD 5 billion in this forthcoming facility. It would create 7,500 jobs, and the plant will have a production capacity of 400,000 vehicles annually. The Rivian R2S and Rivian R2T are expected as the models to be made at this location, entering production in 2026.

TopElectricSUV says

From the early reviews and customer feedback, the Rivian R1S is regarded as one of the most capable electric SUVs on the market. Its on-road performance, off-road capabilities, comfort, convenience, and utility features, and build quality have impressed many reviewers, and overall it’s a solid product. Moreover, unlike the upcoming Hummer EV SUV, it offers three-row seating, which makes it a great everyday driver for families. However, Rivian needs to work on scaling up production to speed up deliveries and introduce lower variants to make it accessible to more buyers.

Featured Image Source: Rivian