In a world of lookalike Tesla Y’s, the Rivian stands apart.
Not just for its rugged, interesting look that catches your eye, but also for unique touches along the way.
Rivian lent me an R1S electric SUV for a week to test drive. I took it on a road trip to Paso Robles.
This all-electric, three row SUV is rugged and commanding, yet gentle on the planet.
It even makes a bird-like chirp when you lock the doors.
Driving a Rivian is like joining a small club, other Rivian drivers would flash their lights or wave as I passed. That’s kind of fun.
The SUV sits up high, with two giant screens front and center. The maps and system software are top notch without any lag.
Driving is smooth and the car feels solid, but not too rigid.
There are three rows with tons of space inside are lots of creature comforts. This includes a removeable Bluetooth speaker in the center console, a pull-out flashlight in the door, plus a power outlet and air compressor in the trunk.
Charging proved to be the trickiest part of the week. Although I had no issues finding chargers, not all of them were as fast as I would have liked. On a road trip, this can cause range anxiety and I’ll admit, I had it.
On the plus side, stopping lets you explore random places, like an old west town we stumbled upon called Los Alamos.
Since charging was slower than I expected, I found myself stopping to charge A LOT. In fact, I never did get a full charge the entire week I was with the SUV.
Thankfully, Rivian is switching to Tesla chargers next year through an adapter and in 2025, the cars will be able to natively connect to Superchargers. Also, if you’re spending this much on an EV, you’ll want a charger in your garage anyway.
Speaking of Tesla, door handles on the Rivian are easier to use since they pop out when the car unlocks.
This SUV is expensive: nearly $97,000 dollars as tested. It’s a steep price to pay, but if you do, you better be spending your weekends in the woods, camping, towing or on some sort of outdoor adventure.
Overall, I love what Rivian is up to, and it’s nice to see some competition among EV’s, but this three-row segment is about to be flooded with models from the traditional auto makers.
Rivian has a nice head start and once the charging situation is figured out, EV buyers will have lots of nice options to choose from. That’s if the Tesla supercharger network can keep up with the added demand.
The Rivian I tested gets about 300 miles to a charge and they just released a long-range version that gets 400 miles.
Bottom line: Driving the Rivian SUV was tons of fun, but charging was a bummer.