Update: ‘Performance’ sub-section of ‘Specifications’ updated.
Even though Tesla was the first to promise an electric pickup with the Cybertruck, Rivian has delivered on its promise with a faster turnaround time. The Rivian R1T is here to grab a significant share of the pickup truck market, and it’s promising. It has a 0-60 mph time of a supercar, the utility of any big and practical SUV, and an interior that’s among the best in the business.
For MY2023, Rivian has made minor changes to the truck, as detailed later in the story. Here’s everything we know about the Rivian R1T:
Rivian R1T Design
Neat & understated
Form and function go hand in hand on the 2023 Rivian R1T. It looks futuristic, but Rivian has not tampered with the design excessively. There are no overdone cuts, creases, or unnecessary badges. The surfacing is smooth, and there’s a full-width LED DRL bar upfront. The LED bar also doubles up as a charging indicator—turning green when plugged in. The headlamp units appear funky, and there are horizontal LED fog lamps housed in the bumper, which also has two tow hooks, a lower air dam, and a chunky metal skid plate.
The wheel arch gaps are enormous, and it runs on standard road tires wrapped around 21-inch aluminum wheels. The wheel options are extensive, with three 20-inch all-terrain tire options or 22-inch low-profile Sport tires—all priced USD 2,500 extra. At USD 3,500, customers can get the chunky All-Terrain Dark tire option, suitable for hardcore off-roading that the Rivian R1T is capable of. There are flush door handles and a full-width LED strip at the rear. The Rivian R1T appears neat from the rear with minimal design interference.
With the tailgate up, the rear bed of the 2023 Rivian R1T measures 54.1 inches long. With the tailgate down, it extends to 83.9 inches. Practicality is taken care of thanks to multiple heavy-duty tie-downs, gear guard security cables connecting to the Rivian app for active cargo status, and an air compressor. Two lockable tonneau cover options protect the cargo from light weather. On the Adventure Package, the tonneau gets retracted electronically via a button.
Interior & Features
2023 Rivian R1T’s interior can be mistaken for that of a luxury saloon. It looks gorgeous. The dashboard is wrapped with ash wood on the Adventure grade, which is the only available grade now. There are three design themes to choose from: Black Mountain (dark), Ocean Coast (white), and Forest Edge (green).
Customers also get a beautiful 15.6-inch central touchscreen that appears as premium as the most expensive iPad. The screen gets LTE and Wi-Fi capability, Bluetooth and responds to Alexa voice commands. It also supports over-the-air (OTA) updates. However, there’s no Apple CarPlay, and some owners would find that disappointing. Throttle House, in its review, stated that the Rivian R1T’s in-built navigation showed incorrect time and distance, compared to Google Maps on the Apple iPhone.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster showcases essential driving information like range, charging status, speed, gear position, and more. There’s also a large panoramic sunroof and a Meridian sound system on the Rivian R1T. There’s also a removable Bluetooth speaker that functions as an additional speaker in the cabin, and when customers step out with the portable unit, it remains connected to the smartphone. That said, the cabin is devoid of physical buttons and has plenty of storage spaces.
The 2023 Rivian R1T measures 217.1 inches long, 78.2 inches tall, 81.8 inches wide (with folded mirrors), and has a wheelbase of 135.8 inches. It also has an incredible amount of storage capacity. According to Rivian, there’s 62 cu. ft. of storage between the bed, frunk, rear storage bin, under-seat compartments, center console, and gear tunnel. The frunk volume is 11.1 cu. ft., while the gear tunnel volume is 11.7 cu. ft.
Rivian has built its chassis in-house. The platform includes the battery, drive units, suspension, thermal management, and the lower body structure. All models come with independent air suspension that allows more than six inches of ride height adjustment. There’s automatic ride height leveling as well, which adjusts depending on the payload. Moreover, active damping monitors tweak the suspension every five milliseconds for better bump absorption and improved handling. There’s also a fully flat reinforced underbody shield to protect the chassis during hardcore off-roading.
Rivian offers three powertrain options for the 2023 R1T: Dual-Motor AWD, Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD (coming soon), and Quad-Motor AWD. Customers selecting the dual-motor AWD powertrain will be able to upgrade to the Enhanced dual-motor AWD powertrain anytime during the vehicle’s life. Both variants have the same hardware, so all they’d do is purchase a software upgrade.
The Dual-Motor AWD powertrain produces more than 600 hp and more than 600 lb.-ft. of torque. A 0-60 mph acceleration in the R1T fitted with this powertrain takes 4.5 seconds. The Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD powertrain bumps up the power and torque to 700+ hp and 700+ lb.-ft., respectively and lowers the 0-60 mph sprint time to 3.5 seconds. The Quad-Motor AWD powertrain develops 835 hp and 908 lb.-ft., allowing an even quicker 0-60 acceleration in just 3.0 seconds.
Development & testing of the motor Rivian plans to employ in the R1T Dual-Motor AWD and R1T Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD is underway. The company is setting up its production line in Normal (Illinois), USA, Principal Drive Unit Design Engineer Mason Verbridge said in a video (via Twitter) on December 27, 2022. The upcoming electric drive unit has been undergoing road-testing for about a year and a half now and is in the final steps of validation at the drive unit assembly level, Verbridge added. Its production is just a few months away.
There are three battery packs to choose from; Standard, Large, and Max. The Standard pack will be offered from 2024, providing a claimed range of 260+ miles. Rivian hasn’t said whether it will offer this battery with the Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD powertrain.
The Large pack is available, but only with the Quad-Motor AWD powertrain. Originally, it delivered an EPA-est. range of 314 miles, but following the MY2023 update, the EPA-est. range is 328 miles. The maximum figure applies when 21-inch wheels are specified. The EPA-est. range with the 20-inch wheels is 289 miles, whereas 22-inch wheels allow an EPA-est. range of 303 miles. From Q1 2023, Rivian will likely offer Large pack with the Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD powertrain.
The Max battery pack will become available with the Dual-Motor AWD powertrain in the future. Rivian expects it to deliver a range of 400+ miles. The company has informed customers who pre-ordered the R1T with the Max battery pack battery pack that it
Rivian planned to give a new delivery window estimate to customers who pre-ordered the R1T with the Max battery pack in late February, but now it has postponed that timing to April, the company said in an email, as per a post on Rivian Forums dated February 15, 2023. The company confirmed in the same email that it will offer the Max battery pack with the upcoming Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD powertrain as well.
Great balance in extreme winter conditions
Kyle Connor from Out of Spec Reviews tested the Rivian R1T in the mountains of Colorado. He drove the R1T Quad-Motor AWD with the 135 kWh battery, and the EV was running on Pirelli Scorpion winter tires. In the video, dated March 17, 2022, the R1T appears to be incredibly sure-footed while being driven uphill on snow. He initially tests the Conserve mode, which is purely FWD, and the R1T continues to climb effortlessly.
After switching to the Auto Off-Road mode, the R1T comes to its own. Its near-perfect weight distribution makes it handle like a charm even on ice. Traction control remains turned on at all times (even after switching it off). The R1T drifts playfully in the Rally mode, albeit in a controlled manner. There’s mild oversteer mid-corner, and when the system detects the limit of the drift angle, power is sent to the front wheels to straighten the EV and pull it out of the corner.
Given its curb weight of over 7,000 lbs., the R1T shouldn’t be able to handle it the way it does. However, the pickup manages an impressive performance thanks to a precisely calibrated chassis and the quad-motor set-up.
By the end of 2023, Rivian plans to have over 3,500 DC fast chargers across 600 sites. 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, which will eventually be increased to 300 kW. The connected car technology lets owners locate charging stations and monitor charging status through the Rivian app.
|Aspect||2023 Rivian R1T Specification|
|Length (in. / mm)||217.1 / 5514|
|Width (in. / mm)||81.8 / 2077|
|Height (in. / mm)||78.2 / 1986|
|Wheelbase (in. / mm)||135.8 / 3449|
|Powertrain & Drivetrain Layout||Dual-Motor AWD / Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD / Quad-Motor AWD|
|Power||600+ hp / 700+ hp / 835 hp|
|Torque||600+ lb.-ft. / 700+ lb.-ft. / 908 lb.-ft.|
|0-60 mph||4.5 seconds (Dual-Motor AWD)|
3.5 seconds (Enhanced Dual-Motor AWD)
3.0 seconds (Quad-Motor AWD)
|Battery Pack||Standard, Large, Max|
|Range (miles)||260+ (Standard – company est.)|
328 (Large – EPA-est.)
400+ (Max – company est.)
|Charging||200 kW (DC)|
|Storage||62 cu. ft.|
There are four off-road modes on the Rivian R1T; Auto, Crawl, Rally, and Drift. The pickup gets approach, departure, and break-over angles of 35.5, 30, and 26.4 degrees. When the suspension is raised, the maximum ground clearance is 14.9 inches (378.46 mm). The R1T can wade through more than 3 feet of water.
|Aspect||2023 Rivian R1S Specification|
|Approach angle||35.5 degrees|
|Departure angle||30 degrees|
|Break over angle||26.4 degrees|
|Ground clearance (max)||14.9 inches / 378.46 mm|
|Water wading capacity||Over 3 feet|
Rivian R1T Price & Rivals
The 2023 Rivian R1T is available to reserve with a deposit of USD 1,000, and its prices start at USD 73,000. Rivian expects to start delivering the R1T to customers who reserve it now in 2024.
2023 Rivian R1T rivals include the Ford F-150 Lightning, which starts at USD 55,974, and the Chevrolet Silverado EV, which is due in Spring 2023. The GMC Hummer EV Pickup, though not a competitor, is also another option and costs USD 79,995 (USD 84,650 if reserved from June 18, 2022) onwards.
|Configuration||2023 Rivian R1T price|
|Dual-Motor AWD Standard pack||USD 73,000|
|Dual-Motor AWD Large pack||USD 79,000|
|Dual-Motor AWD Max pack||USD 89,000|
|Quad-motor AWD Large Pack||USD 87,000|
The Rivian R1T is manufactured in Normal, Illinois. The first electric pickup rolled off the production line in September 2021. Rivian plans to expand its manufacturing with another facility in Georgia. 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. Production will begin in 2024.
2023 Rivian R1T FAQs
Featured image source: Rivian