2023 Rivian R1T Adventure Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
We’ve tested more than 150 electric cars, but only three stood up to the rigors of our long-term testing. It all started with the 2015 Tesla Model S, the first model to complete our full 40,000-mile regimen. This was followed by the Tesla Model 3 for 2019. Our latest long-range electric vehicle—the Rivian R1T—shows how far electric vehicles have come. Four motors combine to produce 835 horsepower, wrapped in a striking exterior and sporty interior that eschews the low-profile look of other EV offerings. Even if it doesn’t win our 2023 Top 10 Trucks award, this is a vehicle we want to spend a lot of time in.
We specified a four-motor model with a mid-sized 128.9 kWh battery pack, mostly because that’s what was available, but a twin-motor version has since been offered. Our car also wears 20-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Elects tires. These specs are very similar to what we tested on the road in our February 2022 issue, except they don’t have the off-road protection, saving about 120 pounds on our scales. But it’s not as if the R1T is light. At 7,054 pounds, it’s the third-heaviest long-term test vehicle ever, behind two diesel minivans.
Initial impressions are positive, with plenty of praise for the truck’s ride — a trait that usually elicits ridicule in pickup trucks, not admiration. By far, the annoyance of having to dig through multiple menus to find the odometer every time we charge our Red Canyon-painted truck (so we can seriously track energy use) is the most frustrating part of R1T life. If this remains the case, it should be a relatively peaceful stay for our countryside in the long term.
But, as senior editor Eric Stafford astutely pointed out, “sitting in front of fast chargers gives us extra time to find things to discover.” Glass ceiling for one person. Rivian PR jokingly called it “SPF 1000,” but a sunny, 85-degree Michigan day provided more than enough solar gain to heat the cabin; A steel roof would likely boost efficiency and help reduce curb weight, but the sum of these grievances is still a trifle.
For the R1T’s first major outing, associate news editor Caleb Miller took it to the Electric Forest music festival in rural northern Michigan. He knew the truck was so new, the local cops didn’t think to check the gear tunnel for contraband—possibly because they didn’t know it existed—which was a good thing because Miller had more than his allotted limit of booze. Just think of the R1T as the “Millennium Falcon” of the automotive world. But it wasn’t all good feelings. The portable speaker is stuck in its dock, which brings us to the not-so-nice part of Rivian ownership: service.
Rivian’s small footprint in southeast Michigan means there is only one service location. When we called to repair and disassemble the bluetooth speaker, the earliest appointment was three months ago. The amplifier was one of three things we needed to address, but none of the R1T’s issues kept us from driving it. Aside from the amplifier, the correct gear tunnel snare release (the same Federal slot you find in the trunk of every new car) doesn’t work, and due to a bug in our garage, we can’t commit any settings to the car’s memory. Fortunately, these repairs are covered under warranty.
Normally for things like this, we deal with it at routine maintenance intervals. But the Rivian maintenance schedule is as real as the muffler bearings or blinker fluid. It’s basically the car service pot – set it and then forget it. The only recommendation is to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. It’s strange to us, but clearly, for a startup electric car manufacturer, the service schedule is an outdated and unnecessary carryover.
While we haven’t extended our Rivian drive with any giant road trips yet, there’s certainly plenty more planned, especially with the holiday season right around the corner. Charging infrastructure — or lack thereof — hasn’t slowed the Reef’s pace. It credits its smooth ride, comfortable cabin, utilitarian shape, and thoughtful features (gear tunnel, box, air compressor) for its popularity.
We’re here to say to inquiring outsiders who want to make an informed comparison with their half-ton, not to think of the R1T as a pickup truck, but rather to think of it as a really nice vehicle that just happens to be shaped like a truck. We plan to test the range towing a variety of trailers, which we already know won’t be great. But it will give us a lot of time to search for that annoying odometer.
Months in the fleet: 5 months Current odometer reading: 9896 miles
Average fuel economy: 59 mpg
Battery capacity: 128.9 kWh Observed driving range: 250 miles
service: $0 Regular clothing: $0 I fix: $0
2023 Rivian R1T Adventure
Vehicle type: dual front-engine, dual-rear-engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
Base / as tested: $74,800 / $94,800
Options: All-wheel drive with four-wheel drive, $8,000; Large battery pack, $6,000; 20-inch all-terrain tires and dark wheels $3,500; Red Canyon paint, $2,500
Front motors (2): permanent magnet synchronous, each 217 hp
Rear motors (2): permanent magnet synchronous, each 219 hp
Combined power: 835 hp
Combined torque: 908 lb-ft
Battery Pack: Liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 128.9 kWh
Internal charger: 11.5 kW
Peak DC fast charging rate: 220 kW
Transmission, F/R: direct drive
Suspension, F/R: Control arms/multi-link
Brakes, F/R: 13.5″ ventilated disc/12.9″ ventilated disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion All-Season Elect All-Terrain PNCS
275/65R-20 116H M+S 3PMSF RIV
Wheelbase: 135.8 inches
Length: 217.1 inches
Width: 79.3 inches
Height: 78.2 inches
Passenger Size, F/R: 59/48 ft3
Cargo Volume, Trunk/Gear Tunnel/Under Bed: 11/12/14 ft3
Empty Weight: 7054 lbs
grandfather Test results: New
60 mph: 3.1 seconds
100 mph: 8.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.7 seconds at 111 mph
The above results remove a 1-foot subtraction for 0.2 seconds.
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
Top Gear, 30-50 mph: 1.6 seconds
Top Gear, 50-70 mph: 2.0 seconds
Top speed (gov ltd): 111 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 179 ft
Braking, 100-0 mph: 356 ft
Road Holder, 300ft Skateboard: 0.80g
grandfather Fuel and shipping economy
Observed: 59 mpg
75 mph highway range: 250 miles
Average DC fast charging rate, 10-90%: 115 kW
DC fast charge time, 10–90%: 59 minutes
EPA fuel economy.
Combined/City/Highway: 64/69/60 mpg
Range: 289 miles
5 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper
8 years/175,000 miles powertrain and battery
8 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection
grandfather Test explained
KC Colwell Car and driverThe executive editor, who covers new cars and technology with a keen eye for automotive nonsense and what he considers a great automotive sensibility, is a modest boast. On his first day in grandfather In 2004, he was given the keys to a Porsche 911 by someone who didn’t even know if he had a driver’s licence. He is also one of the drivers who did fast laps grandfatherAnnual Lightning Lap track test.