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The second model from upstart Rivian, the 2023 R1S SUV features three rows of seats, an upscale cabin, and an all-electric powertrain. Like other EVs—including its sibling, the
R1T pickup truck—the R1S is blisteringly quick, hitting 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds in our testing. On-road handling is agile for an SUV, but we wish the R1S drove better—more like the R1T pickup it shares its mechanicals with. Unlike other EVs, the R1S offers legit off-road capability that rivals many gasoline-powered rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery. The standard air suspension can be adjusted to give up to 15 inches of ground clearance, and the Quad-Motor model features an electric motor for each wheel, which maximizes the driver’s control in a variety of terrains. The Tesla Model X wishes it were half as capable. The R1S’s range is good too, with the Standard battery pack giving about 260 miles of driving per charge and the optional Large pack boosting that number up to 316 miles.
The R1S launched late in the 2022 model year, so it carries over to 2023 with no changes. Rivian has pushed out several over-the-air software updates already, which have activated features such as Camp Mode, Pet Mode, and Soft Sand and Snow driving modes.
For now, the Adventure model is the only trim available, although a lower-cost Explore trim should join the lineup soon. We’d upgrade to the Large battery pack for $6000 to unlock the R1S’s maximum 316-mile driving range, otherwise, the Adventure trim comes with all the SUV’s best features as standard.
The R1S shares its battery pack, powertrain, much of its styling, and many of its specs with its R1T pickup sibling. The standard powertrain is the Dual-Motor setup which makes a combined 600 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive. With 835 horsepower on tap, the available Quad-Motor powertrain makes the R1S mighty quick, hitting 60 mph in 3.1 seconds at our test track. With this upgraded powertrain, the R1S has an electric motor at each wheel, providing all-wheel drive and impressive off-road capability. All models feature an adjustable air suspension, which allows ground clearance to vary from eight to 15.0 inches. In our testing we were put off by both the R1S’s out-of-synch steering responses and its poor ride control, which at times was excessively floaty and in other situations caused odd front-to-rear porpoising. The R1T pickup is far superior in these areas, so we know that this chassis has the ability to be much better behaved.
Rivian will eventually offer three different battery packs on the R1S, but for now, it only comes with the Standard and Large packs, which provide 260 and 316 miles of driving range respectively. A range-topping Max battery pack is expected to join the lineup next year. In our testing, the R1S with the Large battery managed only 230 miles of highway driving before needing to be recharged.
The EPA estimates that the R1S SUV will deliver 73 MPGe city, 65 MPGe highway, and 69 MPGe combined. Those numbers are well below the Model X’s best estimates but close to those of the Audi Q8 e-tron. For more information about the R1S’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Like the R1T, the R1S boasts a beautifully designed cabin with contemporary styling, fancy leather, wood trim, and two large displays—one for infotainment and one for the driver’s gauge display. A 12-cubic-foot front trunk, a large rear cargo area, a split tailgate, and a third row of seats add to the utility of the R1S. While not as roomy as a Chevrolet Suburban inside, the R1S offers enough space for a family and their gear, with the third row serving as seating for occasional guest adventurers. With the second and third rows folded, the R1S’s cargo-carrying capability is fully realized and benefits from a flat load floor.
The horizontally mounted infotainment system uses expandable tiles for individual features with the main options (navigation, media, and climate controls) available at all times at the bottom of the display. Instead of delving into submenus, options slide out of the side of tiles to reduce the complexity of the system. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is included, but an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant are all standard features.
Every R1S is outfitted with a suite of driver-assistance technology called Driver+. That package is comprehensive and includes automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, and more. For more information about the R1S’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features are likely to include:
All Rivian models come with a generous standard warranty which includes bumper-to-bumper coverage for five years or 60,000 miles as well as a battery and drivetrain policy that goes on for eight years or 175,000 miles.
2022 Rivian R1S Launch Edition
Vehicle Type: front- and rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $91,500/$98,750
Options: 22-inch sport dark wheels, $3500; underbody shield, $2000; Limestone paint, $1750
Front Motors: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Rear Motors: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Combined Power: 835 hp
Combined Torque: 908 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 128.9 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.5 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 220 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive
Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.5-in vented disc/12.9-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season Elect
HL275/50R-22 116H M+S RIV
Wheelbase: 121.1 in
Length: 200.8 in
Width: 79.3 in
Height: 77.3 in
Passenger Volume: 144 ft3
Cargo Volume: 18 ft3
Curb Weight: 6986 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.1 sec
100 mph: 8.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.6 sec @ 111 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 111 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 173 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 340 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.85 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGING
Observed: 55 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 230 mi
Average DC Fast-Charge Rate, 10–90%: 109 kW
DC Fast-Charge Time, 10–90%: 61 min
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 69/73/65 MPGe
Range: 316 mi
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs
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