2022 Rivian R1T

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
September 28, 2021

Buying tip

The Adventure trim’s ash wood dash and additional power features are well worth the $5,500 upcharge.

The 2022 Rivian R1T balances off-road capability with on-road luxury unlike any other pickup truck.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Rivian R1T? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Rivian R1T is an electric pickup truck sized between a full-size truck, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, and a mid-size truck, such as a Ford Ranger. The luxurious R1T lives its best life with sporty on-road acceleration and no-compromises off-road capability, as if a Land Rover married a Jeep and had an electric baby. 

Is the 2022 Rivian R1T a good truck?

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It’s a great all-around vehicle, and the addition of a bed just makes it better. The R1T is the next iteration of the pickup truck, and its blend of futuristic yet traditional styling, on- and off-road performance, versatile cargo spaces, and impressive feature set earn it a high TCC Rating of 9.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Rivian R1T?

The 2022 R1T is the first model year of the first model ever made by the startup electric vehicle maker. Its futuristic halo of lighting rings traditional pickup truck proportions. Its wide track, buff wheels with available 34-inch tires, black cladding, and skid plates gird the lower half, while the rounded edges up top embrace more aerodynamic elements. Inside, the pickup truck resonates with warm and inviting natural and recycled materials. 

A 135-kwh battery pack powers the four motors that make more than 800 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque. The R1T sheds its nearly 7,000-lb girth in an instant, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.0 seconds, according to Rivian. Its on-road performance is matched only by its off-road capability, with an independent air suspension that can reach to nearly 15 inches of ground clearance, torque vectoring, active damping, hydraulic ride control, and about 50 drive mode settings to optimize the drive dynamics for the conditions. The battery pack leads to an EPA-rated range of 314 miles, with larger and smaller battery packs forthcoming for more choice between range and performance. 

Like other pickups, the R1T has a versatile bed with a power tailgate, tiedowns, a full-size spare, and short enough bed walls to reach into, but unlike other pickups the R1T has innovative storage spaces to secure more than 68 cubic feet of storage. A front trunk and gear tunnel between the cab and bed best reflect these innovations, and take up some of the space that might otherwise be dedicated to an engine, driveshaft, or fuel tank.

The 2022 R1T comes standard with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and a limited hands-free driver-assist system. 

How much does the 2022 Rivian R1T cost?

The R1T Explore costs $67,500 and comes well-equipped with the safety features mentioned above, as well as an on-board air compressor, synthetic leather seats, heated seats, heated steering wheel, 8-way power front seats and more. 

Reservations for the limited Launch Edition were full at publication, but our recommended pick, Adventure, costs the same at $73,000. Off-road intenders should consider the Off-Road package with 20-inch all-terrain tires and other gear for $76,800.  

A larger battery pack due later in 2022 promises 400 miles of range for an extra $10,000. 

Where is the 2022 Rivian R1T made?

In Normal, Illinois, along with the R1S SUV.

9

2022 Rivian R1T

Styling

The Rivian R1T’s luminescent styling leans into the future.

Is the 2022 Rivian R1T a good-looking truck?

The R1T captures attention. A halo of light rings the pickup to make it both futuristic yet traditional, and inside natural materials grace a spartan dash illuminated with large screens that blend into the design, instead of standing outside of it. It earns two points each for its excellent interior and exterior for a 9. 

With its large wheels and rectangular bed, there’s no mistaking the R1T for anything other than a pickup truck, yet it draws attention like a vehicle visiting from the future. The most distinctive trait are its oval LED headlights bridged by a white band of light that wraps into the fenders. Always on, the DRLs look like the eyes of a bot bound by a white karate headband. The same headband of light spans the rear as a red DRL taillight. 

Otherwise, traditional pickup styling rounds into a new era on the R1T. The vertical face curves at the edges and a raked windshield belies a cabin as roomy as many crew cabs. Front and rear skid plates bolster black cladding on the bumpers that run down the sides over 20- to 22-inch wheels. Even with available 34-inch Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires, the R1T never looks out of proportion and its eye-catching style forecasts the future of trucks. 

The interior reflects proportion as well with a warm and welcoming dashboard free of buttons and clutter. A 15.6-inch touchscreen with a landscape orientation centers the dash and controls most climate and vehicle functions. Synthetic leather upholstery covers base models, and Adventure models come with ash wood trim that spans the dash with the same kind of rounded edges and rectangular breadth as the exterior fascia. The wood trim embraces the touchscreen and the 12.3-inch digital cluster, so the screens don’t overwhelm the cabin. Thin vents underscore the dash and flank the edges, while the open floor plan reflects the latest in interior home design.

Recycled materials constitute everything from the headliner to the easy-clean floor mats on Adventure trims. The three interior design options of dark Black Mountain, light Ocean Coast, and green-on-brown Forest Edge showcase gorgeous execution, and the wood trim flanks even the steering wheel controls for a sense of warmth reminiscent of a ski lodge. 

The R1T lacks the big gear lever, deep center console, controller dials, and abundance of cupholders of other pickup trucks, and the steering wheel controls lack icons; Rivian said they left the controls unmarked so they can keep adding functions via OTAs. It takes a while to get used to what the left and right buttons do, as well as the roller dial, but the interior overall is a lovely place to spend time.

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9

2022 Rivian R1T

Performance

A bona fide off-road vehicle, the R1T behaves like a performance SUV on pavement.

With a massive 135-kwh battery pack powering four independent motors for each wheel, an independent air suspension with 6.5 inches of travel, and five drive modes with nearly 50 different drive settings, the Rivian R1T is the most versatile vehicle we’ve ever driven. It twists through hairpin turns with agility and composure, clambers up deeply rutted rock trails, accelerates quicker than most sports cars, and does it all in near silence. It’s a 9 for its excellent powertrain, composed handling, and outstanding off-road capability and towing capacity. 

How fast is the R1T?

Rivian claims a 0-60 mph time in 3.0 seconds and we have every reason to believe it. Yet, it doesn’t feel like it’s cornering on rails or slamming you into the seat back. The reason, more so than the multitude of suspension and ride quality settings, is that its big battery pack of 7,776 small 2170-format Samsung SDI cells contributes to a whopping curb weight of nearly 7,000 lb, which is as much as most heavy duty pickup trucks. But no pickup, from the Ford F-150 Raptor to the Ram TRX to anything by Hennessey, has this kind of pick up.  

Is the R1T 4WD?

Yes, the R1T’s quad-motor drive system has two drive units on each axle, with two motors per drive unit controlling either half shaft. The motors work independently to make 415 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque to the front axle, and 420 hp and 495 lb-ft to the rear axle; together, the output exceeds 800 hp and 900 lb-ft. The quad motor set up enables torque vectoring at each corner of the truck to both maximize grip on pavement and climb over obstacles off-road at low speeds. 

Five drive settings with five different suspension heights give the R1T a variability unmatched by other vehicles. The air suspension can drop to 7.9 inches when parked and tops out at 14.4 inches in Offroad mode. Above 50 mph, the suspension automatically lowers to 10.1 inches for better aero and efficiency, and that is also the standard ride height for Sport mode. Depending on the mode, the system sets the adaptive damping, regenerative braking, and traction control between three settings each that can be overridden by the driver. For instance, Sport mode utilizes more front axle torque and switches the dampers from Soft to Stiffer that, along with the lowered ride height, lets it hug the road more. 

One of the few drive systems to remain fixed is the electronically assisted steering. The suspension changes might make it seem like it adds steering heft, but the ratio remains the same. On-center feel is good, and the steering response is never too loose nor too firm, though drivers used to performance cars might want more resistance and road feel.  

With a vehicle this weight and height, Rivian employed a hydraulic roll control system instead of anti-roll bars to keep the large SUV from leaning into turns. 

Off-road

If you plan to go off-roading in any terrain, from old fire and mining roads to slickrock in Moab, get the Off-Road package. Instead of 21- or 22-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires, it comes with 20-inch wheels wrapped in 34-inch Pirelli Scorpion 275/65/R20 all-terrain tires. The underbody shield that protects the battery pack gets reinforced with a layer of steel, carbon fiber, and a layer of aluminum honeycomb for energy absorption. 

The geometry helps, with an approach angle of 34.0 degrees, a departure angle of 29.3 degrees, and a breakover of 25.7 degrees. Those split the difference between Rivian’s off-road benchmarks, with the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4-door having 44/37/22.6-degree approach/departure/breakover angles and the Ford F-150 Raptor’s 33.1/24.9/24.4 degrees with 37-inch tires. Neither of the benchmarks can match the ground clearance provided by the R1T’s air suspension, but that’s not the only competitive advantage. 

There’s no pumpkin, no giant rear differential to scrape, no fuel lines or transmission cases to cover, so instead of aiming a wheel for a rock to crawl over, you can straddle obstacles and easily clear them with the 14.9-inch clearance (it’s higher due to the larger tires with the off-road package). Cameras on the side mirrors projecting back and forth, as well as front and rear cameras, give extra eyes where needed. The most remarkable thing is how quiet it is, with the traditional grinding and cranking of lockers and revving of the engine replaced by the crush of rock and the burbling of a creek. 

Descending down a slope or pausing while climbing in Rock Crawl is different than in traditional off-roaders. There’s no “Hold” so two-foot driving is key to hold the brake on a slope and gently accelerate so you don’t roll back into the R1T behind you, say. For now, there’s no hill descent control, but the Max regen braking setting fills that void, except when the wheels slip and shuttle you ahead. 

The difference between Max, High, and Standard regen is not that pronounced, and learning how to modulate the accelerator for one-pedal driving for smooth stops into stoplights comes relatively easy. 

Towing capacity maxes out at 11,000 lb, but we did not test Tow mode. The air suspension automatically levels the ride height when towing, and the various drive settings automatically adjust to suit the load.

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9

2022 Rivian R1T

Comfort & Quality

The 2022 Rivian R1T optimizes space like a backcountry backpack.

If the Swiss Army knife became a closet, it still wouldn’t be as clever maximizing space as the Rivian R1T. The truck does it in comfort and style, as well. Roomy front seats with power thigh adjusters, spacious rear seats, more than 68 cubic feet of storage, and a good fit and finish earn a point each to a 9 here. 

To get an idea of the purposeful approach to space, one feature encapsulates the essence of R1T: In the driver’s door panel, a 1,000-lumen flashlight pops out of a cavity, like umbrellas in a Rolls-Royce. 

At 217.1 inches long with a 135.9-inch wheelbase, the R1T is at least a foot shorter than a Ford F-150 crew cab with a short bed, yet it’s 6.3 inches longer than a Ford Ranger crew cab with a 60-inch bed. Inside, with wide and low proportions and a fixed glass roof for more head room, the R1T carries itself like a crew cab.

At 81.8 inches wide, the R1T stretches out more than eight inches than the Ranger but is a couple inches shy of the F-150 crew cab with its mirrors folded. Ample shoulder and hip room enables seating for five adults, and even though Rivian didn’t disclose leg room by publication time four adults never felt cramped in our experience. 

Wrapped in soft material made to mimic leather, the heated front seats sport 8-way power adjustments or available 12-way seats with power lumbar support. Side bolstering is on the lighter side, and the lack of a grab handle makes climbing in a chore when the suspension is raised for off-roading, but otherwise comfort abounds in the cabin. 

Instead of a glove box, the R1T has flip-out storage space beneath the front seats to stow pocketbooks or a hunting knife. Narrow door and seatback pockets expand like in an airplane seat, and the retractable center cup holders front and rear are large enough to fit hydroflasks. The rear seats don’t recline, but the 60/40-split seat cushions flip forward toward the front seat for another concealed storage cubby; Adventure trims lose some of that underseat space because of a Meridian woofer. 

A pass-through opens up to the neatest cargo space in the truck: a gear tunnel situated between the cab and the bed. The cargo chute features two small power doors on either side of the truck; the bottom-hinged doors open up to 90 degrees, and have small storage cubbies within them. The doors hold up to 250 lb so you can sit on them and degear or stand on them to secure items to the roof rails, or scout the terrain. The tunnel as a whole can store 11.6 cubic feet or up to 300 lb of gear; we fit two carry ons and two backpacks. A power-sliding shelf can be fitted, and it plugs into a 110-volt outlet in the tunnel. It’s great for safe-keeping gear you don’t want in the cabin, like ski boots or wetsuits, but don’t want to leave loose in the bed. 

The bed measures 51.1 inches wide, good enough to haul sheets of plywood with the tailgate down and straps hooked up to the two tiedowns or eight clamps. The 54.0-inch bed length expands to 83.8 inches with the tailgate down.With the gate up, it carries 29.2 cubic feet, and the R1T has a max payload of 1,760 lb. The side walls are short enough to reach over the side and pull out gear, and you can also lower the ride height for more reach. It has roof lights and LED bars on the sides, a power tailgate, available power tonneau cover, two 120-volt outlets, two tie downs, and four clamps on the bed walls and four more on the roof. A standard air compressor with a max output of 150 psi lets you air down or up on the trail, fill inflatables, refill flats, and simplify adventuring. An optional full-size spare fits in the underfloor storage, but since it has a drain plug it can be used as a cooler or for wet storage, same as up front in the underfloor part of the frunk. The front trunk holds up to 11 cubic feet. 

Even Marie Kondo would be impressed.

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2022 Rivian R1T

Safety

The 2022 Rivian R1T has not been crash tested yet.

How safe is the Rivian R1T?

The NHTSA and the IIHS have yet to crash test the new truck, so we can’t say, but it comes with plenty of equipment to mitigate and avoid crashes. Its massive weight and low center of gravity should also help it withstand crashes. 

The 2022 R1T comes standard with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and automatic high beams. That suite of standard features earns it two points on our scale.

A driver-assist feature called Driver+ enables limited hands-free driving for about 20 seconds. The system is tentative on highway driving, allowing the driver enough time to stretch their wrists, but the graphics in the digital cluster of nearby trucks and cars shows what the system is detecting, and the prompts and warnings are clear to understand. Hardware fitted on the truck, such as a driver-facing monitor in the ceiling light housing, as well as a suite of 11 cameras, 12 sensors, and five radars, promise that enhancements can be made to the driver-assist system through over-the-air updates. 

Standard on Adventure trims, Gear Guard uses the side and rear cameras to monitor and record activity around the vehicle when parked so you don’t always need to keep an eye on it when hauling bikes or boards or other valuables.

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9

2022 Rivian R1T

Features

The 2022 Rivian R1T comes loaded with luxury-level features and clever camping innovations.

The R1T Explore costs $67,500, and comes loaded with the safety features mentioned above, a manual tonneau cover, power tailgate, full-size spare, glass roof, an on-board air compressor, vegan synthetic leather seats, heated seats, heated steering wheel, 8-way power front seats, six USB-C ports and more. The excellent standard features, cool off-roading and camping options, in-car tech, and 5-year/60,000-mile warranty each earn a point to a 9 here. The drivetrain and battery pack are covered for 8 years or a whopping 175,000 miles. 

Which R1T should I buy?

Reservations for the limited Launch Edition were full at publication, but we’d opt for the Adventure trim that costs the same at $73,000. It adds ash wood trim, a security system called Gear Guard, cooled front seats, Meridian audio, a wireless camp speaker, power tonneau cover, 12-way power front seats with lumbar support, easy-to-clean floor mats, and a microfiber headliner made of recycled materials. 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Rivian R1T?

Load up the Adventure trim with a $2,000 Forest Edge interior with dark wood and a kind of camo colored vegan upholstery, and the Off-Road package with 20-inch all-terrain tires for $76,800. A power sliding shelf in the gear tunnel can house a $5,000 camp stove and forthcoming accessories, or adventurers could opt for a $2,650 three-person tent with cargo cross bars mounted to the roof or the bed. At the least, we’d recommend the cross bars for $450 a pair. Other options include an off-road recovery kit, a Level 2 wall charger, and more.

Infotainment

A 15.6-inch touchscreen houses most vehicle controls, ranging from drive modes and side mirror adjustments to climate control and vent positioning. It might be too much to decode with any simplicity, and changing suspension settings or even adjusting the heat can be a dicey proposition when off-roading. 

A bottom menu bar houses the climate controls on either end, with the most commonly or most recently used hot buttons between them. The screen looks sharp, with large side bars for drive mode settings, pinch and zoom satellite mapping for navigation, and other cutting edge features, but it takes a solid thumb press to respond. The pre-production prototype could lag and miss some touches, and it might be the only component that gives us pause until we get more seat time in production models to learn its many functions. Off-road, it’s best to be stopped in order to navigate its menus.

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10

2022 Rivian R1T

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Rivian R1T can travel 314 miles on a charge, but it uses plenty of electricity.

Is the 2022 Rivian R1T good on gas?

As if. Powered by electrons, the 2022 Rivian R1T has an EPA-rated range of 314 miles with four-wheel drive. That’s a 10 on our scale.

The 135-kwh battery pack powering the electric pickup truck uses a gas equivalent of 70 mpg combined. More accurately, it takes 48 kwh of energy to go 100 miles. An Audi E-Tron SUV with AWD uses 43 kw per 100 miles, while a Tesla Model S Long Range with AWD uses only 28 kwh per 100 miles. 

The driver’s side front charge port follows J1772 and CCS standards, with DC fast-charging at more than 200 kw, enabling about 140 miles of charge in 20 minutes. Rivian is building out its DC fast-charging Adventure Network with 600 sites planned nationally and in Canada by the end of 2023. Level 2 Waypoints at 11.5 kw charge up to 25 miles per hour, or about 13 hours overnight. Waypoints are expected to exceed 10,000 chargers by 2024.

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9.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 10
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