By Peter Clark
The Rivian R1S is an exceptional vehicle.
I previously had a Tesla Model Y, which I felt was a near perfect car — but alas, over the years, I was simply finding the Model Y too small. I even had the 7-seater Model Y but found the third row impossible to use for adults (or anyone, really.)
Increasingly I found that I wanted to haul larger things and found that the second row (let alone the third!) was too cramped for adults.
What I really wanted was a Model Y but it be 20% larger, I thought this would be the Model X so dutifully pre-ordered one when they refreshed them a few years ago. Over time, I realized that buying a car that was over $110,000 was insane — especially when waiting so many years for it.
I also had reservations about the Model X form factor. It's not quite an SUV and not quite a wagon. It's a weird car.
About that time ~3 years ago, I also ordered a Rivian R1S. I was skeptical of anyones ability to compete with Tesla in the EV world, but the idea of an electric SUV was too appealing to me. I have wished for almost a decade that Land Rover release an EV car, but alas that company is too far gone to be saved.
The R1S checks all the boxes.
It's an SUV which means it has a lot of room — three rows, all of which are usable by adults. Even with the third row up, you have a large trunk, and with the third row collapsed it's positively cavernous.
It has air suspension and an upright driving position. When fully lifted it sits incredibly high, providing wonderful visibility — and when fully lowered, it's incredibly easy to get things in and our of it.
It drives and handles outrageously well. A 9000 lb SUV should not feel like a toy car, but this one does. It is shockingly responsive and just plain fast. The Model Y felt outrageously fast, but the R1S is another level — whilst it's equally as fast, you can't help but be shocked that a car as large as this moves as quickly and nimbly as this.
That said, there are drawbacks — the Rivian software is incredibly nascent compared to the Tesla. The audio options and car settings are two large drawbacks, and then there's the long tail of odd Tesla features which are useful once a year, such as Netflix.
I am sure the software will improve quickly, there's already been a major update in the first few weeks of owning it.
I would urge anyone on the fence to buy the Rivian R1S — it's an insane car!