There was a time when the only electric SUV on many people's minds was the Tesla Model X. But now there is so much more choice than just the Tesla. Vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Rivian R1S, and much more are on offer. The Rivian is a fascinating product from one of the smaller manufacturers. But the R1S still has a lot to offer such as great looks, strong mileage, and plenty of features for occupants.
The R1S is also a capable SUV off-road, while its safety systems are very advanced too. You get a lot of SUV, for a big price decrease compared to the Model X. Making the Rivian a very attractive option for those looking to switch to electric power.
One of the biggest standouts of the stellar R1S is its ability to perform off-road just as well as it does on the tarmac. One of the most impressive features is its 35.6-degree and 34.3-degree approach and departure angles. This will allow for great clearance when the R1S is going over obstacles, such as rocks or steep climbs. Rivian has also fitted the R1S with an innovative air suspension system. One that can raise and lower the R1S by six inches vertically. This will further aid the SUV in clearing those obstacles, and an automatic feature allows the suspension to operate like this on its own.
The suspension also works independently on each corner of the electric SUV. Meaning one side of your Rivian can rise up over an obstacle, while the other side can adjust accordingly. This to keep your SUV planted to the ground with all four wheels. The automatic side of the suspension allows the R1S to sense the conditions and terrain you are on. An electro-hydraulic roll control system helps reduce the movement of passengers inside the car while you are off-road. Its performance is as exemplary off-road as the R1T pickup truck that Rivian also produces.
The R1S also comes with all the power and range consumers will want. There are two setups, a dual-motor and an optional quad-motor with the former offering 600 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. The quad-motor provides 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque, with all those figures impressive for a large, electric SUV. The dual-motor and quad-motor 0-60 mph times are 4.0 and 3.0 seconds respectively. But it is the range that stands out. Originally there were 260 miles on offer from the dual-motor version and 316 miles from the quad-motor R1S.
That is just a fraction less than the 348 miles of the Tesla Model X, but not by much. And it is even more compared with the 333 miles range that the Model X Plaid has. Both versions of the R1S have plenty of range that should alleviate range anxiety. In a recent update to their software, Rivian was able to add more range to the R1S. The boost saw the quad-motors range increase to 321 miles, which should further help those who have a bit of range anxiety.
Like with its R1T, Rivian has ensured that the R1S is also as safe, thanks to a bunch of driver aids. Rivian Driver+ package is standard on the R1S. Within it are adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system as well as lane-keeping assist. Adaptive cruise control will keep you a good, safe distance from the car in front. The lane-keeping assist only functions properly on highways and larger, more open roads. This is due to the regions which Rivian mapped for the system. So it may not work as you enter the suburbs and where home is.
With costs rising everywhere, Rivian has done well to keep the R1S below its main rival from Tesla. Currently, the Model X dual-motor all-wheel drive is selling for $98,490. The Model X Plaid tri-motor all-wheel drive has a current MSRP of $108,490. The base model of the R1S is currently listed at $78,000 without additional fees on Rivian’s website. Over the standard Model X, that is a saving of over $20,000, and it is hard to ignore such a price gap.
You don’t lose anything for that price difference either. The R1S comes with mod-cons like Bluetooth, inbuilt Wi-Fi and multiple USB-C charging ports, and wireless phone charging. One downside though is that it lacks support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But being able to hook up your phone via Bluetooth will likely be enough for the vast majority. It is comparable to the Model X as well, which equally doesn’t support Apple or Android’s phone integration software.
While the Tesla Model X is what the R1S sees as its main rival, more are coming out into production. Kia is one company launching a new electric SUV with the impressive EV9 now also on the way. It’s an EV that remained true to its concepts styling. With a boxy shape boasting smooth lines and sharp curves enabling it to stand out from the Model X and compete with the impressive styling of the R1S. The EV9 rides on the brilliant Hyundai E-GMP platform, meaning there is a vast amount of space inside. Plus its powertrain, range, and efficiency should be exemplary.
Where the EV9 is likely to give the Rivian R1S a run for its money is in the price stakes. Kia hasn’t revealed the pricing of the EV9 yet, but estimates put the SUV in the $50,000 to $60,000 price bracket. A potential saving of up to $30,000 compared to the Rivian. And a vast gulf between the Kia and Tesla Model X. Kia is very much aiming to undercut its rivals and bring something much more affordable to the electric SUV market. The three-row seating ensures the EV9 is just as practical as its two big American rivals.
Rivian has made sure that its R1S is an attractive option for consumers in 2023. The vehicle has a great level of capability off-road while providing the comfort and luxury you’d expect. There is more than enough power and the range of the R1S is comparable to its biggest rivals within the segment. Buying a Tesla Model X is no longer the clear-cut option for those after an electric SUV. Rivian has made sure they are a big player.
It will be fascinating to see what the rest of 2023 and indeed 2024 brings for the R1S with the EV9 on the way. The electric SUV segment is starting to fill up. Other vehicles such as the Acura ZDX and the Buick Electra SUV coming to the US market in 2024. Rivian has its work cut out to ensure the product still stands out as the one to pick.
Sources: Rivian, Tesla, Kia2023-06-01T19:07:51Z dg43tfdfdgfd