One of the most anticipated electric trucks of recent times was the Ford F-150 Lightning, an electric version of the trusty truck series that has remained the US’ best-selling vehicle for almost 40 years.
The Lightning isn’t the only star of the electric truck show though, with the GMC Hummer SUT, Tesla Cybertruck, and more promising power, economy, and style to go along with your utilitarian demands.
There is increasing competition in the electric pickup world as everyone is keen to get a slice of the same cake: more than 13% of vehicles sold in the US in 2020 were trucks, so it’s a lucrative sector in the automotive industry, whichever side of the fence you sit on.
Rivian, a relatively new startup from California, has only been around for just over a decade but has grand designs for not just one but two electric vehicles, a truck, and an SUV.
We look at the SUV version – the R1S, to see what the highlights are of this style-first sports utility vehicle and how it stands up against the competition.
The Rivian R1S Is A Family-Friendly Electric SUV With Performance As Standard
As Rivian says on its website; ‘’The R1S was designed to take families, friends, dogs and all your gear on long road trips to the places you love’’, so with an EPA-rated 314 miles of range from its chassis-mounted battery propulsion system alongside 7 seats which fold flat, it is off to a good start.
104-cubic feet of storage offers plenty of space for those long road trips and the second two rows of seats fold flat offering camper-van-like levels of possibility.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a modern electric car without an impressive 0-60 mph time to shout about, so this SUV, like its truck counterpart, will provide acceleration to 60 mph in around 3 seconds, just like a Tesla.
In order to rival Toyota too, it has an exhaustive list of safety systems, and the driving assistance tech includes 11 cameras, 5 radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors for a 360-degree view of your expensive new family car.
Rivian Has All The Bases Covered In Its R1S SUV, With Looks To Match
It is expensive too, with the base Explore model starting at $73,500 and the next trim, Adventure setting you back $78,000 – the $90,000 Launch Edition is now full, as you would expect.
Thankfully, the Rivian R1S is no Land Rover Defender – there isn’t much left to spec when you select one in Rivian’s online builder.
Our fully-loaded R1S cost $105,000 – close to the entry price of a Tesla Model X – and included the following for a classy and capable electric SUV (it is based on the $78,000 Adventure model):
22” Sport Dark wheels ($3500), Compass yellow paint ($2500), Quad motor ($6000), Interior color in Ocean Coast ($2000), Three-person tent with crossbars ($3100), Reinforced underbody shield ($2000), Compact spare tire ($550), All-weather floor mats ($225), Off-road recovery kit ($600), Field kit emergency pack ($150) and Wall charger for your R1S which can charge the SUV at 25 miles for every hour of charging.
As this SUV and its truck cousin are most likely to compete with and be compared to the Tesla’s Model X or Y then it’s worth remembering that this car comes with a lot once you fully spec it, at a price that is still relatively low.
Rivan’s R1S Electric SUV Is Capable Under The Surface, On And Off-Road
With a 3-foot wading depth and 7700 lb towing ability, the Rivian R1S comes with a 129-kWh battery and 4 motors in its skateboard modular platform – it uses 91% of the same parts as the R1T truck and for the future, it should be cheaper for the company to release new models on the same architecture.
Up to 835 hp is on tap for the quad-motor version and a dual motor, 600 hp-car will eventually arrive later, power goes to all four wheels and there is air suspension to smooth out the wildest of terrains.
The interior of the R1S is where design and perceived quality really stand out and luckily Rivian seems to offer up a cabin that looks elegant and clean, two screens sit at the front of the driver and in the center as in most cars, but Apple Carplay and Android Auto aren’t currently offered.
Interestingly, the steering wheel also reminds us of the wheel from a French Renault, with the diamond badge in the middle.
The Tesla Model X Vs The Rivian R1S: The Rivian Wins For Now
At more than $70,000 the Rivian SUV looks like bad value next to a Ford F-150 Lightning for example which you can buy for just over $40,000; but that’s a truck, the Model X from Tesla is arguably where Rivian most wants to compete.
Tesla might not be known for its industry-leading interiors, but for almost everything else it’s leading the charge and its cars are a force to be reckoned with.
The Model X Is Smaller than the R1S, but offers a similar electric experience and badge kudos along with the modern minimalist design – but acceleration and range are where most people look straight to when comparing electric cars.
Around $110,000 gets you into a Tesla Model X and power ranges from 670 hp to 1020 hp like in a Model S, while 0-60 mph in the base model 2-motor trim takes 3.8 seconds.
The range is up at 350 miles per charge against the 314 miles for the Rivian R1S but in the Rivian you get more space up back, a more flexible interior, and lots of useful storage.
It depends on what you value in your next crossover or SUV, but for space, power, and image the Rivian R1S provides bang for your buck, relatively speaking of course.