The new Rivian R1T pickup is the fabulous EV glamping truck you didn’t know you needed. This unique EV truck has all kinds of features you need, plus a few you never even thought of. Come along on our test drive of the Rivian R1T and decide for yourself if this is your next daily driver.
What makes the Rivian R1T special?
Rivian has been working on their EV pickup trucks and SUVs for several years now, but it’s finally here. The first rollout of Rivian EV trucks is underway, and we got to drive the R1T pickup. The engineers at Rivian told us this pickup has been thoroughly over-engineered, and they’re not kidding. From daily driver tasks to off-roading, this thing does it all.
The R1T is a pickup truck, an EV, an off-roading weekend car and even a camping vehicle. This one-of-a-kind electric pickup has a variety of options for road surface handling including Conserve mode, Snow, Off-Road, Sport and Standard operation. This allows the vehicle to adjust suspension stiffness, save the battery, help you stick to slippery roads and even raise or lower the ride height for various purposes.
What we love about the R1T right off the bat is that it’s flexible. You can use this truck to drive down some pretty rough roads and stick to them. However, if you struggle to find a truck you can get in and out of without hoisting yourself up to the height of a horse saddle, the R1T has you covered.
Furthermore, ingress and egress are easy. The center console has a surface that will charge your iPhone wirelessly, plus a cordless Bluetooth speaker that pulls out from under the console to take you to the beach.
What is truly impressive about this truck is that it has all the comforts of a daily driver EV, including a frunk (front trunk), electronically operated hood and rear gate and an air compressor built into the truck bed to inflate your tires. It even has the famous gear tunnel.
Turn your R1T into a tent camper
This gear tunnel is a hole that goes directly through the center of the vehicle between the cab and the truck bed. It comes with some standard and some optional features including human and pet first aid kits and a handy footstool or seat built into the door on each side.
For an extra $6,000 (price subject to change), you can get the camping gear kit that pulls a stove, sink and prep counter out of the gear tunnel. This means you could use your Rivian for a commuter EV or work truck even if you live on rough roads, and then use it for camping as well as off-roading instead of buying an RV or camper.
That’s where the price starts to make sense. Rivian R1Ts range from $60,000 to $95,000. Our edition was tricked out to the tune of about $93,000, which is no chump change. But consider how much an RV costs ($100,000 to $300,000) or a tent camper pullout trailer ($60,000 to $100,000), now you see the truck does it all. You can drive the R1T to the local beach, take it off-roading, then set up for tent camping at night with your pets. This thing can do just about anything a standard pickup can do, and then some.
Extras in a Rivian R1T
As we mentioned previously, the engineers assured us they thoroughly over-engineered the R1T. We were happy to discover they did this in the nicest of ways. Every detail is thought through. There is a partial self-driving option that helps with maintaining the following distance and lane steering.
You have to drive a Rivian to appreciate how lux it is. The flush door handles and side mirrors open when your key fob approaches the car. A key card held over the driver’s door or putting your foot on the brake while your key fob is in the car starts it automatically. The ride is smooth, but if you prefer a stiff, sporty performance, it’s available at the touch of a button.
The vehicle stops you from doing anything silly, such as when we tried off-road driving and sped up too much. The car simply dropped us back into standard driving mode and adjusted all the settings to make that ideal.
The R1T comes with tons of extra features, so you might want to play around building out your options before ordering to figure out which vehicle is right for you. The tonneau cover for the truck bed is best understood in person as it fits together like a jigsaw puzzle but works great. You do have to pay them a couple of thousand extra dollars to paint your car anything other than silver. It adds up. But if you build out your ideal car first, you know what you’re getting into.
Still, take one for a test drive if it’s available. You’re going to love this thing. We dragged ours all over the place to run errands, deliver recycling, pick up groceries and other purchases. We also drove it on dirt and pavement and through rain, on pavement and rough back roads. It handled everything seamlessly.
The interior screens are designed after Tesla, but we like how there is a separate screen for the driver display and the infotainment system. A lot of the technology is made by Rivian just for this vehicle line, so if you like tech, check out a test drive to see all the mapping and self-driving capabilities this car has, plus the bird’s eye view camera that keeps you out of trouble in traffic.
Images via Rivian
Editor’s Note: This review is not sponsored by Rivian. All opinions on the car and company are the author’s own.