Rivian R1S Review

February 02, 2023
EV Universe
EV Universe

Welcome to our Rivian R1S EV review!


The Rivian R1S is a full-size electric SUV manufactured by Rivian Automotive, a US-based automaker. Originally unveiled as a concept vehicle in 2018, the R1S began selling directly to customers in 2022. Although Rivian doesn’t have traditional dealerships, the company has established a network of service centers for maintenance and repairs.


Rivian R1S Interior close up


The R1S is designed for off-road use, making it a standout option in its class. Its advantages include fast acceleration and a luxurious cabin. However, the R1S’s high entry price, stiff suspension, and lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity may be considered disadvantages. Despite these limitations, the R1S is a great choice for mid-size SUV buyers seeking an EV that offers off-road capabilities similar to those of traditional options like the Land Rover or Jeep.



The 2022 R1S is a 7-passenger, 4-door wagon with all-wheel-drive (AWD). It’s the second production model from Rivian, after the R1T off-road truck. The R1S is also one of the few three-row EVs currently available, making it appealing to large families wanting to make the transition to all-electric power.


The R1S’ closest competitor is the Tesla Model X, which has a higher starting price and lower towing capacity. R1S has an advantage over the Model X in off-road capability, as it borrows many attributes from the R1T. The R1S and R1T have 91 percent of their components in common.


These include an unusually large battery pack with a usable capacity of 128.9 kilowatt hours (kWh), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates has a range of 316 miles on a full charge. Each wheel has its own motor, providing the R1S with a total of 835 horsepower (hp). This powertrain gives the R1S more power than its competitors, with surprisingly agile handling for an SUV. The adjustable air suspension is stiff as expected for an off-road vehicle, but the driver can vary the R1T’s ground clearance from eight to 15 inches. At its top height, the R1S has a maximum wading depth of 43.1 inches.


While the R1S shares its powertrain and battery pack with the R1T, the body shape gives it different aerodynamic properties. Since each wheel has an independent motor, the R1S has impressive AWD and off-road capabilities. It’s also surprisingly agile, especially considering its size. Handling is well-controlled, despite the stiffness of the suspension. However, the exact ride quality is highly dependent on the ground clearance.


EVU Hot Take


  • Luxurious Interior quality
  • Usable 3rd row
  • Great off-road capability



  • User interface could use improvements
  • Expensive


Rivian R1S: What’s New for 2022 and 2023?

Rivian accepted reservations on the R1T before March 1, 2022 for the prices in effect at that time. The company then raised those prices significantly after that date, which initially would have affected customers with reservation. However, Rivian later decided to honor the original prices in response to customer backlash. In addition, some deliveries of the R1S will be delayed, according to an announcement from Rivian in June 2022. The company cited limited service infrastructure and supply chain problems as the causes.


Rivian plans to introduce its entry-level Explore model for 2023, which will have a lower price than the current R1S. The primary reason for this difference is that the Explore will only have two motors, providing a total of over 600 hp. The battery is also smaller for this model. In addition, Rivian will offer an even larger battery pack for quad-motor models, which it calls the “Max” battery.


Rivian R1S Trims

Rivian initially offered a Launch Edition trim for the R1S, but that trim has since sold out. As a result, the Adventure is the only trim currently available for the R1S, which has a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $91,075. This price includes the AWD quad-motor powertrain and large 128.9-kWh battery pack, each of which costs $6,000. Additional options for the Adventure trim include multiple choices of wheels, tires, interior colors and various upgrades.


Rivian R1S Exterior

The R1S chassis has a low, flat center of gravity chassis that makes it an EV skateboard. This configuration includes the platform that houses the motors, batteries and other electronic components that an EV requires. It also has removable corner units at the wheels that contain powertrain, braking, suspension and steering equipment.


The wheelbase of the R1S is just over 10 feet at 121.1 inches. It has a length of 200.8 inches, a width of 81.8 inches and a height of 77.3 inches. The estimated curb weight of the R1S is 7,000 pounds.


Rivian R1S Interior


Rivian R1S Interior Ocean


The R1T has an attractive, well-designed cabin, with a passenger volume of 147 cubic feet (cf). It uses contemporary styling elements that include wood trim, leather upholstery. The interior also has two displays that serve as the center of attention for occupants, with one display for infotainment and the other for the driver’s gauges.


The total enclosed cargo volume is 104.7 cf when the rear seats are folded down, which fully realizes the cargo space due to the R1S’ flat floor. This design is possible because EVs don’t have a hump in the floor, which is needed to accommodate the transmission of a traditional vehicle. The R1S also has a front trunk, or “frunk”, under the hood, where the engine would be in a gas-powered car. This storage space has a volume of 11.1 cf. In all, the R1S provides enough space for a family and their gear on an extended trip, with the third row of seats accommodating additional guests.


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Rivian R1S Towing

The R1S’ AWD quad-motor drive configuration gives it an unusually high payload of 1,800 pounds and a towing capability of over 7,700 pounds. Towing will greatly reduce the driving range, so you should consider a model with the largest available battery if you plan to do a lot of towing.


Rivian R1S Powertrain


Rivian R1S exterior close up of logo


The R1S uses permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors. The two motors in front produce a total of 415 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The rear motors produce a total of 420 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a total output for the vehicle of 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque. The R1S has a direct-drive transmission with only one gear, like other EVs.


Rivian R1S Battery

The R1S uses liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery packs. For the 2022 model year, the only available battery has a maximum capacity of 135 kWh, although only 128.9 kWh is actually usable. These batteries are composed of 7,776 type 2170 cells assembled into nine modules.


Rivian will likely offer two other battery packs for the 2023 model year. These will include a smaller battery with an estimated range of 260 miles, which will only be available for dual-motor models. The Max battery will only be available for models with quad-motor setups, but will have an estimated range of about 400 miles. This battery is a must for off-roaders who want to go on extended expeditions.


The EPA estimate of 316 miles for the 2022 R1S is two miles more than the R1T, largely due to the R1S’ slightly greater aerodynamic efficiency. Its onboard charger has a power rating of 11.5 kW.


Rivian R1S Performance

The use of multiple powerful motors gives the R1S high performance, especially for an SUV of this size. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds and reaches 100 mph in about 8.9 seconds. The R1S also has a standing quarter-mile time of 11.8 seconds. Its top speed is limited by a governor to 110 mph, although its unrestricted top speed is undoubtedly higher.


Rivian R1S Energy Efficiency

The EPA estimates that a typical gallon of gasoline contains about 33.7 kWh of energy, which allows a comparison in the energy efficiency between EVs and gas-powered vehicles. This Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe) means an EV that consumes 33.7 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles has the same energy efficiency as a gas-powered vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon (mpg).


The EPA estimates that the R1S will get 73 MPGe in the city and 65 MPGe on the highway, for a combined estimate of 69 MPGe. These figures are significantly less than those of the Model X, but close to those of the Audi e-tron.


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Rivian R1S Infotainment

The infotainment system is mounted horizontally and uses expandable tiles to display individual features. Main options like climate controls, media and navigation are always shown at the bottom of the display. The climate control system also includes a pet comfort mode, which allows you to select a temperature for the vehicle to maintain while you’re away.


Additional options appear on the sides of the tiles, rather requiring the user to dig into submenus like many other infotainment systems. This design reduces the system’s complexity without hiding vital information. The R1S also provides Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, a wireless charging pad for smartphones and on-board Wi-Fi hotspot as standard features.


Rivian R1S Safety and Driver Assistance

The R1S is equipped with Driver+, Rivian’s own suite of driver-assistance technology. It’s a comprehensive package with many features that includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with lane-centering, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance and automatic high-beam headlamps.


The vehicle is also equipped for Level 3 semi-autonomous driving on both roads and off-road conditions. This level is also known as conditional driving automation, as it uses artificial intelligence (AI) and the vehicle’s driver assistance systems to make decisions based on changing conditions. Drivers don’t need to supervise this technology, allowing them to engage in other activities.


Rivian R1S Warranty Review

All Rivian models have a generous manufacturer’s warranty plan, including bumper-to-bumper coverage for the first five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. The powertrain and battery also have their own warranty for eight years or 175,000 miles.







Image Credits:

File:Debut of the Rivian R1S SUV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, November 27, 2018.jpg” by Richard Truesdell is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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