2022 Rivian R1T Review: Test Drive of the Electric Truck

The Tesla Cybertruck and Ford F-150 Lightning may have more publicity, but the Rivian R1T is the first electric truck to be available for customers. This is a big deal. Pickup trucks are the highest selling vehicle segment in the U.S., while electric vehicles are the wave of the future. When you combine these two things, you have a recipe for enormous success. The fact that start-up Rivian beat larger automakers with the first EV truck release is remarkable. On top of this, the Rivian R1T is an incredible truck. Check out this test drive review of the Rivian R1T.

Rivian R1T shows its off-road prowess in the Colorado wilderness

White Rivian R1T driving up a sand dune
Rivian R1T | Rivian

With the production of the Rivian R1T in full swing and customer deliveries coming soon, Rivian made the electric truck available to the media to test drive, including CarBuzz. The folks at CarBuzz took the R1T for a drive in the wilderness areas of national parkland in Colorado.

A national park representative gave Rivan passes to use the rugged trails. However, the representative was initially hesitant to allow the R1T to go up the trail, for she doubted that it could make it up the steep incline. However, the R1T proved her wrong. In fact, the R1T performed so well that she worried it would result in more people driving in wilderness areas. She mentioned that she hadn’t been on that particular trail in 15 years. However, she took some solace in the quiet electric motors of the R1T.

What’s it like to drive the Rivian R1T?

The Rivian R1T performs well for both on-road and off-road driving. With the onboard compressor for the R1T, the tires can be adjusted for a higher PSI for on-road driving or switched to a lower PSI for heading off the beaten path. 

With its low center of gravity from the battery pack located at the bottom of the truck, the R1T has a smoother ride than a typical pickup truck. When taking the R1T around corners, it drives more like a large sports sedan. With its four electric motors delivering 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque, the R1T provides plenty of power, and the driver definitely feels it. The powerful motors also enable the R1T to accelerate very quickly, with a 0-60 mph time as quick as three seconds.

Off-road capabilities of the Rivian R1T

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The R1T especially stands out when driving on rough terrain. It’s remarkable what this truck can overcome. Since the R1T has motors for all four wheels, its all-wheel drive system can easily adapt to the fluctuations for various terrain. When switching to Off-Road Mode, the R1T cuts down the throttle response, enabling it to ride more gently up and down slopes without blasting all of its 908 lb-ft of torque. 

The R1T has an adjustable suspension with five different ride heights, including a maximum ground clearance of 14.7 inches. Also, the R1T has an impressive wading depth of three feet and can rock crawl at 100% grade. On the towing front, the R1T can tow up to 11,000 pounds, which is close to the towing capabilities of other large light-duty pickup trucks.

As described in this test drive review, the Rivian R1T is an exciting new model and a worthy competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck, F-150 Lightning, and GMC Hummer EV pickup. However, with the off-road capabilities of the R1T and an adventure-focused membership program, Rivan is targeting a different type of electric vehicle buyer than Tesla. While many buyers of Teslas are wealthy people from Silicon Valley and other affluent urban areas, Rivian is more likely to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.

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