2022 Rivian R1S, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Rivian R1S First Test: Another Showstopper
This electric SUV shares many parts with the R1T truck, but there are differences.
- 908 lb-ft of torque
- Unique styling
- 316 miles of electric range
- Tight third row
- Stiff ride on all-terrain tires
Driving loads of new and flashy cars around Los Angeles, we’re used to curious people stopping us to ask questions. From testing supercars to SUVs, we’re lucky to do what we do for a living, and we love talking to folks about the latest trends in the automotive industry.
But nothing tops our experience with the 2022 Rivian R1S electric SUV; every time we parked it, strangers approached immediately to ask us questions about one of the hottest vehicles on the market.
Indeed, with its charming styling, room for seven passengers, and impressive technology, the 2022 Rivian R1S gets a lot of love, even in L.A., where you often see some of the world’s rarest and most expensive vehicles. We were amused to see people’s reactions when we talked to them about its range or power numbers.
Same But Different
Although the Rivian R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck share the same chassis and four-motor setup, there are significant differences, with length being the biggest one.
The R1S’ wheelbase is 14.8 inches shorter, and its overall length measures 200.8 inches—16.3 inches shorter than the truck. Those who park their R1S in a garage will note the difference, and those who go off-roading will also see better breakover and departure angles thanks to the shorter wheelbase and rear overhang.
Just like in the R1T, the 2022 Rivian R1S’ interior is elegant, futuristic, and cool. The minimalistic approach provides a vibe that blends premium materials with lots of technology to make a great impression on anyone who rides in it. From the open-pore wood that combines ambient lighting elements to the minimalist switch gear, the cabin feels like it’s next generation.
Many cues appear taken from Tesla—there’s no push-start button and no buttons to adjust the side-view mirrors or telescoping wheel, and the shifter is a stalk on the steering column. But unlike a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y, a second screen in front of the driver acts like a digital instrument cluster to display vital information.
Although the R1T offers more storage options than the R1S electric SUV, the amount of storage in the R1S remains impressive. We do miss the R1T’s gear tunnel, but the R1S has a deep hidden compartment beneath the cargo floor that can store a carry-on bag.
Plus, the frunk is just as expansive as in the R1T, and it has a drain plug so you can use it for tailgating (or should we say frontgating?). There are also drawers under the front seats to keep some documents handy, should you have the need to do so.
Second-row space is more than decent, with plenty of real estate for adults in terms of legroom and headroom. People sitting back there will enjoy heated seats and USB-C ports rightly placed on the seats in front of them, making it easy for them to charge and use their devices at the same time.
However, accessing the third row is a little tight for adults. The space between the C-pillar and the second row is narrow. Once you make it back there, second-row passengers need to move their seats up a few inches for third-row riders to have enough legroom. Because the third row is so low to the floor, most peoples’ knees will be at a higher position than their hip point, which is uncomfortable for long trips.
Although the 2022 Rivian R1S’ interior space isn’t spectacular, it’s also not bad. At 6 feet tall, you wouldn’t want to spend much time in the third row, but you would likely be OK with short trips in the city. We’re sure most R1S owners will keep the third row folded so they can enjoy more cargo space.
Second-row seats can be folded from the cargo area with an electric release, but the third row must be folded manually, which is a bit odd—especially for an SUV that costs more than $95,000. Fold the second and third rows, and you’ll get a flat floor with ample room for your gear or for Home Depot trips.
Like with most electric cars today, the R1S’ center screen serves as the command center. Besides displaying the nav system and controlling the A/C, heated and ventilated seats, and other basic functions, the screen allows drivers to switch between driving modes, raise or lower the electric SUV’s air suspension, and turn on Pet Comfort mode (and, eventually, Camp Mode).
Pet Comfort mode keeps the air conditioning on inside the cabin and displays a message on the screen telling outsiders the pets are in good condition.
Few SUVs in the world can do what the 2022 Rivian R1S does. With its quad-motor setup, which delivers 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque combined, the R1S is one of the quickest SUVs MotorTrend has ever tested. Yes, you read those numbers right; no production Lamborghini, for example, makes this kind of power. A seven-passenger SUV producing this kind of punch is otherworldly.
During our instrumented testing, the R1S with all-season tires accelerated to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 111.2 mph. Opting for the all-terrain tires holds you back by just 0.1 second on the way to 60 mph and only 0.2 second in the quarter mile.
These numbers are even more impressive when you look at the Rivian’s heft. Because of its 135-kWh battery pack, the R1S weighs more than 3.5 tons, and you definitely feel it on the road. Its low center of gravity and nimble steering, however, reduce the perception you’re driving a lumbering behemoth.
On city streets, the 2022 Rivian R1S is quiet and composed, delivering power to pass just about anyone who’s around you. It doesn’t hesitate to merge onto the freeway, either, and you feel your back pressed against the seat when doing so. Bumps and ruts are absorbed nicely thanks in part to Rivian’s cross-linked suspension.
And depending on the drive mode you select, you can have different experiences behind the wheel. Conserve disconnects the rear motors to save power. All Purpose is the normal mode, with all four motors working together. Sport is the most fun of all, naturally.
It’s worth noting we spent most of our time driving the Rivian R1S with all-terrain tires, and we felt a stiffer ride and heard a bit more noise in the cabin—things to consider if you’re interested in this option.
Yeah, But How Safe Is It?
Unfortunately, neither IIHS or NHTSA has crash-tested the Rivian R1S or the R1T, but both are equipped with a long list of active safety features.
With Rivian Driver+, the R1S bundles adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and highway assist to hold the SUV centered in its lane while keeping a good distance to the car in front. Two taps on the shifter stalk activate the entire suite, and it will alert you if the road becomes unclear or if the systems can’t handle the situation.
Every R1S is equipped with cameras, radars, and other sensors, and all of them work together in pursuit of a safe experience.
Should I Buy The Rivian R1S?
The 2022 Rivian R1S is an impressive electric SUV with lots of technology, storage options, and power. It’s also one of the most fun SUVs we’ve driven—something you don’t often hear about a seven-passenger giant.
All of this is great, but pricing will certainly keep a lot of people away from the R1S. Our two test vehicles were priced at $96,000 and $98,750, and as much as we liked its attributes, we wondered aloud whether that’s too much for an electric seven-passenger SUV.
Prices recently suffered a steep hike, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Rivian increases the R1S’ sticker yet again. But if you can afford it and you’re looking for a family SUV while thinking of switching to electric power, the 2022 Rivian R1S checks all the boxes.
Looks good! More details?
|2022 Rivian R1S Launch Edition (A/S tire, A/T tire) Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$96,000, $98,750|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||2 x Front- and 2 x rear-motor, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|MOTOR TYPE||Permanent-magnet electric|
|POWER (SAE NET)||415 hp (front), 420 hp (rear), 835 hp (comb)|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||413 lb-ft (front), 495 lb-ft (rear), 908 lb-ft (comb)|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||7,068 lb (48/52%), 7,091 lb (48/52%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.8 x 79.3 x 71.5 – 77.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.1, 3.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||11.6 sec @ 111.2 mph, 11.8 sec @ 111.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||121, 131 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82, 0.78 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.1 sec @ 0.71 g (avg), 26.4 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||73/65/69 mpg-e|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||316 miles|