A Closer Look At The Rivian R1S Electric

With its latest beast, R1S, Rivian has given the world a glimpse of what the automaker is capable of.  The […]


With its latest beast, R1S, Rivian has given the world a glimpse of what the automaker is capable of. 

The 800 HP electric powertrain of the R1S alone, which gives it a 0-60 mph time of just 3 seconds, shows the enthusiasts a fair idea of what the pickup is made up of. It also comes with a full redesign in every part of the vehicle. There is no doubt that the R1S is the first large electric SUV around that is not made by Tesla, making it all the more enjoyable. A few inches shorter than a Mercedes-Benz GLS and a lot roomier than an Audi Q7, the car offers to seat seven and decent cargo space behind the third row’s reclining seats. The handling is surprisingly agile for a vehicle of its size, but the ride is a bit rough.

Nevertheless, R1S has an advantage over the Model X when it comes to off-roading. An adjustable air suspension raises the R1S up to unlock a maximum ground clearance of 15.0 inches. R1S is sold directly to consumers, but Rivian provides maintenance and repairs through a network of service centers. 

Electrifying The Future

As with its sibling, the R1T pickup, the R1S is also available with the same 835 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque, quad-motor system, and all-wheel drive setup of the R1T. It has been reported that Rivian will introduce a lower-cost two-motor all-wheel-drive configuration in 2024 with more than 600 HP and 600 pounds-feet of torque, similar to the R1T. The 60 mph mark is reached in a quick 3 seconds. It is one thing to have enormous power, but it is quite another to be able to put that power to work under a variety of driving conditions. With Rivian’s quad-motor powertrain and independent torque vectoring, the suspension automatically adjusts so that the right amount of power is delivered to the proper wheel for maximum traction without the driver even realizing the process. 

This vehicle has an independent air suspension and active damping that allows more than six inches of vertical adjustment. In terms of off-road performance, the R1S is even better than the R1T in many ways. This is mainly because it has a smaller wheelbase of 121.1 inches as compared to the 135.8 inches of the latter. It also has a shorter overall length – 200.8 inches. Regarding maneuverability, the R1S is more capable than the R1T, which makes a big difference in tight situations. 

It feels more like a sports sedan with room for four passengers than a hulking, 7,000-pound SUV. A general-purpose mode is suitable for most daily driving situations, making it easy to use in most cases. As part of this mode, the vehicle has a standard ride height, soft suspension, complete stability control, and moderate amounts of lift-off regenerative braking. It also has a soft suspension setting. 

A Massive Battery Backup

The R1S uses the 135.0 kilowatt/hour battery pack. Rivian calls this battery pack ‘massive’. Currently, only the large pack is offered for the R1S, but a ‘standard’ pack with 260+ miles of range and a ‘max’ pack with 400+ miles of range will be offered in the future. The R1S can go 316 miles on one charge in the large battery version.

The 48-amp onboard charger supports 240-volt Level 2 charging at up to 11.5 kilowatts. An R1S can be charged at 25 miles per hour by a 48-amp station. A 32-amp portable charging cable comes with Rivian vehicles, and owners can also charge the R1S at a rate of 15 miles per hour using the 240-volt adapter. 

The Practical And Comfortable Insides

There is a well-thought-out interior with supportive, comfortable seats in the R1S. Only vegan leather surfaces are available on the heated and cooled seats. The steering wheel is heated, too. Displays are primarily conventional, with a 15.6″ touchscreen and 12.3″ digital instrument cluster for the driver. The R1S is only available as a three-row, seven-seat car due to the automaker’s decision to abandon its previous plans to offer it as a five- and seven-seater. The vehicle has average outward visibility, with 10 exterior cameras and a Bird’s Eye View to help fill in blind spots. 

Its 16.0-inch touchscreen display is bright, clear, and responsive. It controls navigation, climate, drive modes, settings, and media. Regarding media, the R1S does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

It can accommodate up to five child seats in the second and third rows, which fold 40/20/40. Both rear seats can be folded flat, and Rivian provides a generic inflatable mattress too. Additionally, the large panoramic glass roof offers spectacular views of the stars. 

A wide array of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) come standard on the R1S. Essentially, the overall system is called Rivian Driver + and consists of adaptive cruise control, Rivian’s lane change assist system, and lane-keeping assistance system. In addition, drivers have access to back cross-traffic warnings, park assist, and trailer assist functions when reversing and parking the vehicle. 

As with General Motors’ Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise, Rivian Highway Assist is a driver-monitoring hand-free system that includes automatic steering, braking, and acceleration, but the system can only operate on specific highways that have already been pre-mapped. Rivian uses a third-party database of maps based on maps and sensor data. The automaker has significantly improved the effectiveness of its lane-centering function compared to the R1T, which lacked this feature. As a result, there was a lot of bounce between the vehicle and the side of the road. Despite this, it offers a fairly stable experience and manages to stay in the middle of the lane the whole time.

Based on the content and segment of the R1S, the starting price of $84,500 for the quad motor, a large pack version, is quite reasonable. AWD R1S with a Large Battery Pack starts at $78,500. Dual Motor AWD R1S with Standard Battery Pack will start at $72,500. 

The R1S delivers more value than any conventionally fueled SUV, even those more than twice as expensive as the R1S. In the future, Rivian will need to scale up and be able to produce these in high volumes. However, the R1S’s capabilities can be matched by a competitor before Rivian scales up and builds them in large quantities.