The Rivian R1T is a Midsize Truck Quicker Than The Huracan, But As Off-Road Capable As a Land Rover

Just before its official unveiling at the 2018 LA Auto Show, a new Michigan-based EV company revealed its first vehicle - an electric pickup truck called the Rivian R1T Pickup. I remember the buzz on the Internet when Tesla unveiled its Tesla Semi and that mad roadster some years ago. On one of the photographs, clever Tesla marketing gurus sketched what will become the Tesla Pickup. Well, Rivian beat them to the punch on that one. Or has it?

The company called known as Rivian has been around since 2009 and, while it actually did dwell into supercar making at the very start, rationalization brought the company much closer to the ground. Almost ten years after the story started, Rivian CEO, RJ Scaringe, actually decided to tell the world what the Rivian is all about. You haven’t heard a lot about the company until now, have you?

He revealed its intentions at just the right time - after the company acquired a Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. That’s the place where this sexy pickup (well, I think it’s kinda strange sexy) will be eventually produced. Obviously, Rivian wanted to present itself with a bit of a bang. Acquiring what once was a Mitsubishi factory is a bit like a bomb, especially when you take into account plans to introduce an electric SUV in a few years. Now, we have a pickup - it is 90-percent production ready and brings enough EV promises for us to pay some real attention to it.

Presenting the R1T before Tesla unveiled its pickup truck may very well be the right move. Rivian wants to cash in on people who are actually interested in this kind of thing. If you don’t know them, don’t worry, they will emerge just like Tesla Model S lovers emerged.

So, what’s the Rivian R1T all about?

Exterior

  • Pop out speakers from the doors so you can listen to music in the bed
  • It has a standard electrically controlled tonneau cover
  • LED light bar at the front will light green when recharging
2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806386

It’s a truck. I mean, what can you do to make it really stand out? Well, Rivian did a thing or two to considerably differentiate it from anything else out there. It feels like the future. It really does.

Despite the looks, the truck in itself is a midsize proposition in the segment.

First of all, it measures 215.5 inches in length, 73.3 inches in width, and 71.4 inches in height. It is a tad longer, wider, and higher compared to say - the Tacoma. But it does not have as accommodating a bed. The Rivian R1T is, by all chances, a truck focused on regular drivers and even families. Not exactly for all out-work purposes. It will do that too but bear with me, and you will see just how many urban hardware pieces it holds.

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806400

Despite the size, Rivian did try to reinvent the exterior looks. The front lights definitely won’t be up to everyone’s liking. Vertical LEDs are intersected with a fine LED light bar that stretches end to end at the front. It is quite thick actually, and it will light green during the recharge process.

The rear of the truck also features a light bar that stretches end to end.

As on a premium SUV, you know. Now, this is the most obvious hint that this is not exactly a full-on work truck. It will do so, but it is easy to damage lightbar of this size. Furthermore, the tailgate opens electronically up to 90 degrees or 180 degrees. When 90 degrees open, it can serve as a bench.

Interior

  • “Gear Tunnel” is like a real boot for the truck, but it is actually a hole right through the middle
  • More than enough space inside for five
  • It has an 11.6 cubic-foot frunk
2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Interior
- image 806379

Usually, double cab trucks of this segment don’t get exactly plentiful in terms of interior roominess and comfort. The Rivian R1T looks to correct this injustice by introducing a really roomy cabin. It has a whole lot of space for five occupants with its unique layout. A wheelbase of 136 inches offers a lot of freedom for the designers of the cabin.

The “skateboard” architecture basically meant that nothing whatsoever will ever protrude inside. No transmission tunnel and no drivetrain elements of any kind will ever get inside. That is the recipe that worked well on the Tesla.

Unlike Tesla, however, Rivian went with a much more conventional interior layout.

It is still really futuristic, mind you, with a massive screen behind the steering wheel and on the center. Yet, the wooden inlays, the strange shape of the vents, and rather massive central armrests do give us a slightly different aura than what one would find in any of the modern posh electric SUVs, or any of the trucks for that matter. Obviously, Rivian does not focus on uncompromised futurism. The shapes inside, do, in fact, call for adventure, more so than for a relax. Actually, this machine as a whole feels much more like an adventuremobile. I am happy because of that actually. Don’t think for a second, though, that you will lack space for your luggage.

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Interior
- image 806384

Apart from a rather large trunk with a capacity of 11.6 cubic-feet, the Rivian R1T hides one curiosity no other car has - a so-called “Gear Tunnel.” It is a horizontal storage compartment under the rear seats that can be accessed via exterior doors located just after the rear cabin doors. The “Gear tunnel” is basically a horizontal hole in the truck.

It has a capacity of 12.4 cubic-feet, and it enables you to store golf bags, folded trolleys, and the like.

The small doors can be used as a step for easier access to the bed. Kinda cool.

Aside from this, the versions with smaller batteries - like 105 kWh and 135 kWh, have a nice storage place under the rear seat. The packaging of the storage compartments in the R1T is quite ingenious. I cannot see any other pickup of this magnitude offering as many closed storage places as the R1T pickup., A testament to Rivian engineers’ ingenuity and electric propulsion on a vehicle with a “Skateboard” chassis.

Drivetrain & Performance

  • Rivian R1T will do 60 mph in 3 seconds
  • Rivian R1T will tow 11,000 pounds
  • Rivian R1T has a rated payload of 1,760 pounds
  • Rivian R1T has four electric engines for a combined power output of 788 horsepower
  • Rivian R1T can cover more than 400 miles on one charge
2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806389

Now, this is where the things get serious. The Rivian R1T pickup and its SUV knockoff are powered by four electric motors.

Each for one wheel and each one of them developing 197 horsepower. Yup, for a total power output of 788 horsepower.

Sure, lesser versions will have a bit less to offer in terms of power (413 pound-feet of torque instead of 826 pound-feet of torque). Thus the 0-60 mph acceleration discrepancies between the version with the 105 kWh battery (4.9 seconds) and the one with the 135 kWh battery (3.0 seconds). The one with 180 kWh can do 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Reason? Weight!

Obviously, supercar quickness is only one of many of its virtues. The other - Rivian R1T off-road proves. I will list some of the most amazing numbers the Rivian R1T has achieved:

  • Approach, departure and the breakover angles are as follows - 34 degrees, 30 degrees, and 26 degrees respectively
  • Adjustable air suspension (standard on all models) provides the RT1 with a clearance of 7.9 inches to 14.2 inches on a touch of a button
  • The Rivian R1T has a fording depth of 39.4 inches
  • It will move up a 45-degree steep angle (a testament to its low center of gravity achieved by the skateboard chassis).
2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Interior
- image 806393

Some of the numbers crammed here obviously make the R1T a serious overachiever in terms of off-roading proves. Add to this astonishing 400+ miles of range for its high-end version, and you have yourself a truck so alluring one may forget about anything Tacoma, anything Colorado.

If we are to believe the initially released Rivian specification, the R1T will tow more than 11,000 pounds.

This is rather amazing considering that no other standard mid-size truck can achieve a tow rating like this.

If I am correct in assuming, the Rivian R1T is a family pickup that can haul more than a regular mid-size pickup, that can do off-road better than comparable ICE powered vehicles, and that will out accelerate supercars. A lot of going on here isn’t it!?

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806402

Well, get ready to hear more as the 20-inch wheels and Pirelli tires on them are safe and sound over every surface. Rivian camouflaged many of the R1T pickup truck prototypes with Ford F-150 exterior and tested them furiously on all kinds of surfaces. This led to the development of several driving modes. A lot of these modes are tailored for different off-road conditions.

Pricing

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806380

While we have to wait for final pricing until the official introduction, Rivian did imply that the R1T with a 105 kWh battery will start at just under 70 grand. High-end versions will, most likely, push closer to $100,000. Nevertheless, I believe all of them will be considerably less expensive compared with the incoming Tesla pickup.

Competition

Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
- image 609467

The Tacoma is a tad smaller, has an ICE instead of electric drive and is quite common on the streets. I am listing it as a competitor only to show just how more advanced the Rivian R1T Pickup feels next to it. With a 3.5-liter 278 horsepower engine, it cannot match the amazing performance of the Rivian R1T trucks.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Tacoma.

Atlis XT Pickup

New Electric Pickup Truck from Atlis Motor Vehicles Will Take a Full Charge in 13 Minutes!
- image 801081

Atlis Motor Vehicles from Arizona recently announced its electric pickup truck. Mind you, it is still not unveiled, but it should be a $45,000 ordeal focused on heavy duty tasks far more than the Rivian R1T. It will also be available with three battery packs for a range of 300, 400, and 500 miles. The XT Pickup is announced for 2020, but we are still to see its prototypes.

Read more details on the Atlis XT Pickup

Final Thoughts

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806385

With a rather cramped bed (4.6 feet long by 4.5 feet wide), but a fine tow rating and exceptional battery charging ability (200 miles worth of electricity in 30 minutes with 160-kW charging port), the R1T feels more at home serving a nice family than actually towing stuff on the highways. Its price shows that Rivian focuses on rich people too. That’s the reason behind having all the luxury and creature comforts on board.

Despite its true meaning, the Rivian R1T is a fine-looking truck with some novel ideas and rather curious solutions. We will have to see if it’s enough “out there” to allure enough buyers. One can except it on sale in 2020 or 2021.

  • Leave it
    • It’s still expensive
    • Heavy at 5,900 pounds
    • We have yet to see it on the roads

Further reading

2020 Rivian R1T Pickup Exterior
- image 806404

Rivian R1T Flexes Its Muscle With Eye-Popping Towing Capacity

How Does the Rivian R1S Compete with the Tesla Model X?
- image 807515

How Does the Rivian R1S Compete with the Tesla Model X?

2020 Tesla Pickup Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 682271

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Tesla Pickup.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: