The Rivian R1S is an electric car.
The SUV can hit 60 mph in three seconds.
At off-roading, it is a beast.
It's not easy to start a new car company. It's difficult to land on the scene with vehicles that can convince buyers to give money to an upstart.
That's what California-based electric-vehicle startup Rivian has accomplished, first with the R1T pickup truck launched in September, and now with the R1S, a fantastic large SUV that should make its way to reservation holders in August.
The R1S is an electric vehicle that is an off-road explorer, a thrilling sports car, and a plush family-hauler all in one. It's a multitool in vehicle form that's thoughtfully designed, stuffed with interesting features, and profoundly capable both on- and off-road.
The R1S is Rivian's second consumer model and is a high-end EV for outdoorsy types. It will cost $72,500 for a basic dual- motor version. At an event the company hosted last month, I drove the first model that cost $90,000.
The R1S has a lot in common with the company's R1T pickup, but ditches the truck bed for a third row of seats. When fully charged, it can go up to 316 miles. It is one of the longest range electric cars on the market.
The idea that a big SUV can go 60 mph in three seconds is crazy. Rivian says the quad- motor R1S can do that thanks to its 908 pound-feet of Torque. The SUV instantly surged forward with a silent swiftness that was completely at odds with its hulking size.
The R1s shines off the beaten path. I took it out on a trail with jagged rocks, water crossing, and steep grades, and the R1S crushed all of them. The R1S has a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, which makes it easy to find grip. muscling over big rocks is made easier by all that Torque.
There are a number of off-road drive modes that make hitting trails in the R1S idiot-proof.
The R1S is large and high-end. It is about comfort as much as it is about capability, so it is about comfort more than it is about capability.
There were faux leather seats and wood trim on the Launch-Edition models I drove. There is a sense of openness.
The R1S's interior can be used in many different ways. Adults can use the third row. The flat floored cargo area can fit a twin bed if you fold down the second and third rows. Nobody in the cabin needs a place to charge their phone because the cabin is full of cubbies and ports.
People who prefer physical buttons and knobs may be turned off by the SUV's large screen. The direction of the air vent can make it difficult to change settings while driving, as most of the basic functions in the vehicle run through the screen.
Rivian has made the main display and digital gauge cluster easy to use.
Rivian took the opportunity to dream up a vehicle from scratch and run with it, rejecting unnecessary conventions and incorporating lots of interesting features that you won't find in every EV.
There is a flashlight in the driver door. There is a combo of a wireless speaker andlantern under the center console. When it senses something isn't right, the feature called Gear Guard uses a bunch of cameras and records to surveil the area.
Air beds and tires can be inflated on the fly with an integrated air compressor. Extra cargo space is added by a Frunk.
The starting price is nothing to be sneezed at. The SUV is the best of all worlds, with outstanding daily practicality, off-road capability, and on-road performance. The Model X is not suited to go off-road and costs $121,000.
I am not the only one who is enamored with the R1S; the company is working through thousands of pre-orders and says new orders won't be fulfilled until late in the future. It's so compelling that even if you tried, you wouldn't be able to get one right now.
Business Insider has an article on it.