2023 Rivian R1S
An EV Like No Other SUV
While we’re still waiting for that Tesla Cybertruck, and domestic brands have just begun delivering their all-electric pickup trucks, Rivian beat them all to the market with the R1T. And now they’ve turned their attention to the much more important three-row SUV segment with this R1S. So, let’s see if this modern era family truckster can deliver for suburban America.
Pickup trucks are indeed cool and can certainly get a lot of work done. But most American families still rely on SUVs for their daily tasks; so, this Rivian R1S sport-ute has the potential to make a much bigger impact in the growing EV market than the R1T pickup that it’s based on.
3-row seating is standard; a 3-place bench in the second row, and room for 2 in the third makes for 7-passenger capacity.
All-wheel-drive is also standard, with powertrain choices very similar to the R1T; a base Dual-Motor setup outputs 600-horsepower, the Performance Dual-Motor option adds another 100, and the Quad-Motor arrangement cranks it up to 835-horsepower with a hulking 908 lb-ft. of torque.
Two different batteries are available, standard and a large pack, meaning a wide spread of available range, from 260 to as many as 390-miles. Charging happens at a max of 220-kW, getting you to 140 miles in about 20-minutes; and good news, Rivians will soon be able to tap into Tesla superchargers for a fill up. Our tester is one of the early Launch Editions with Quad Motor and large battery pack rated for 316-miles, 2 more than the R1T pickup. But based on our experience, we’d say to expect up to 30% less in real world driving depending on wheel/tire choice, and extreme hot or cold weather.
Much like the pickup we tested earlier, the R1S is speedy and almost silent while doing it. Standard height adjustable air suspension provides a solid truck-like ride, while electro-hydraulic roll control does a great job of keeping it mostly flat in corners.
The front cabin is virtually identical to the pickup, with very few physical controls, meaning you’re forced to touchscreen your way to just about any change you make.
Vegan seat coverings are a very good facsimile of actual leather, and the nicely bolstered seats they cover proved to be quite comfortable.
Space is adequate inside, but definitely think midsize more than full-size, and there are lots of thoughtful storage spaces including 11.1 cubic-ft. under the hood.
Seats fold fully flat giving a nice level cargo floor, with room for 17.7 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 46.7 behind the 2nd, and a max of 88.2. All accessed through a split hatch, with a small tailgate.
Compared to the R1T, the wheelbase has been shortened by 14.7-inches; partially why towing capacity falls from 11,000 to 7,700-lbs.
The R1S shares the distinctive and modern look of the truck, only with covered storage space and additional seating in back; harkening back to the days when all SUVs were just modified versions of pickup trucks.
For off-road fans, the SUV is every bit as capable as the truck, if not more so due to the shorter wheelbase; ground clearance maxes out at very high 14.9-inches with the Quad Motor having 10 different drive modes to choose from.
Fortunately, Sport is one of them, so off to Mason Dixon Dragway.
There’s an explosion of power off the line, so be ready for it, as this UTE firmly plants itself in the pavement, and then uses all that grip to blast to 60 in just 3.3-seconds. Only a tenth slower than the pickup.
We’re pretty sure Alessandra Volta didn’t have this in mind back in 1800 when he figured out how to store electricity in a voltaic cell, but we’re sure glad he did, as 11.9-second ¼-miles at 111 miles-per-hour in a family SUV is our kind of fun.
Plenty of grip through our handling course, but still more truck-like behavior than all-out performance utility.
No more Launch Editions are available, but similar Adventure trimmed R1Ss start at $79,500; and as we speak Rivian is in process of significantly ramping up their production numbers.
All-electric vehicles are well past being a novelty at this point, but there are still relatively few family-size 3-row EVs on the horizon. As for emerging brands such as Rivian, they’re facing a tougher challenge than ever as mainstream brands enter the fray with better name recognition and bigger R&D budgets.
So, while we applaud Rivian for beating them all to market with the R1T pickup and then making a higher capacity 3-row SUV out of it too; the Rivian R1S is certainly fighting an uphill battle. But Americans love an underdog, and there are plenty that will be rooting for this one to win!
- Motor Setup: Dual-Motor | Quad-Motor
- Horsepower: 835
- EPA Range: 316 miles
- 1/4 Mile: 11.9-seconds at 111 mph
- Starting Price: $79,500
- Battery: 105 kWh | 135 kWh
- Torque: 908 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 110 feet (avg.)