2022 Rivian R1T
Thanks for the add.
Just took delivery of mine at 3:30 on 3/30. I’m not going to dwell on whether that may be auspicious or suspicious, so let’s just leave it and move on.
I placed my preorder 2/2020, so I’ve had a lot of time to anticipate the arrival, to learn from others about the truck they don’t have EITHER, and finally to see it on TFL and Motortrend. Obviously watched long way up, which was great, but not very satisifying.
Heretofore, I’ve been driving a 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax Limited 4x4 on 35” tires, so this is a bit of a difference for me. I actually own a 1978 FJ40, and 1982 FJ40, a 66 Buick Riviera GS, a 2000 Tundra, as well as the 07 tundra, so the appeal of the Rivain wasn’t just that it was an EV. I never wanted a Tesla. Cool car, but not my jam.
I like the Rivian because it was a well thought out, well engineered vehicle that would actually do most of what i need a truck to do. That, and it was built new from the ground up with no preconceived notions or previous models. It’d be disingenuous for me to say i did it to save on gas, because, come on, it’s a $83k truck. Do i save $600 a month in fuel? Sure. But that savings costs me $500. Anyone saying they bought one to save money believes in a false economy. So let’s say it‘s like having a nice Camry, only not as bland and leave it at that.
Ok, to the important part. First Impressions.
As of this writing, I’ve owned the truck for 48 hours, and put about 250 miles on it. So, these are really just initial impressions, but I’ve had about 5 hours of seat time.
Lines and proportions are very pleasing. In the race to be the most modern and bold, trucks these days look like your grandmothers Christmas tree. Loaded with tinsel and other shit that does god knows what and will probably break. I don’t want a power tailgate - my wife‘s Denali has one. I want a truck. A power tailgate would likely be the first thing to break, so I’m good without one. Same with all the chrome and techno gee-gaws we’ll rarely use but may leave us stranded because some engineener went off his meds on design day (See the 2nd generation Denali and the infamous flaming windshield washer fluid heaters - WTF?)
The fit and finish is very good, overall. The paint is perfect, and the interior bits are all on par or better than any other mainstream vehicle. It comes across as refined, without being pretentious. The seating is very comfortable and attractive, and seems like it‘ll be durable. Time will tell.
The center console is deep, if a bit narrow. USB C connections are in the console, which is fine, but I’d really like to see some that are accessible in the front compartment. The speaker is nifty, but if there were an option to delete it in favor of more console space, I would.
The charging pad is all but useless you’re sitting still. On flat ground. With no wind. It’s made off a rubbery plastic that isn’t sticky, so your phone ends up sliding all over the place. Considering the skittle-sized area where charging does take place, this renders it effectively pointless. The manual indicates that the charge area is large enough for two phones or phones and headphones, so maybe mine is defective? Regardless, if you were trying to charge two phones while driving, you’d be digging your dead phone from under the seat when you stop, bc that pad is slicker than snot on a doorknob. I’m going to cut a pice of neoprene to hold my phone still, and see if that works.
The cup holders work well and are surprisingly solid for being the slide-out variety. Pro tip: make sure you removed your coffee cup and close the cup holders before grabbing your briefcase or bag. Just saying…
The interface is intuitive, athough you do have to dig a bit for some things. For example, my son (13 and a gearhead) put the truck into DRIFT mode the other day, which basically buried the tires in the wheel wells. I still have yet to figure out how he did it; i can’t find it, but, I’m 48, so, probably not going to be doing a lot of drifting. (Edit: I found it. It’s one of the OFF ROAD settings. We shall see…)
The AC controls are pretty easy and clearly identified. IDK about you guys, but there’s some voodoo involved with aiming the vents in other cars where you want the air to go. Never seems to end up where you think it should. With the R1T, you drag your finger across the screen until you feel air. It’s a cool feature, no pun intended. (Edit: still no ball chiller vent - ala 88 Suburban - but the cooled seats do the trick.
One of the things that stands out is that the interface doesn’t come across as crowded. Some of the head units in modern cars are so jammed with information that it’s nearly impossible to make adjustments without significant attention and not a little head scratching. It’s sparse, though I don’t feel as if anything was left out that would impair the function or operation of the vehicle.
The front trunk is more useful than I expected it to be. The powered lid is cool, I won’t lie, but if it were an option, I’d forego it in favor of a more analog latch, as it’s potential failure point on an oft used hatch. I’d also like to see a manual latch release and a way to bypass the lift struts. It could be this already exists and I’ve yet to discover it.
Lighting is great inside and out. It’s bright without being intrusive, offers a few levels of luminosity, and can be turned on from the screen or by simply tapping the lights. Again, that’s intuitive.
Gear tunnel is cool, and I like being able to throw my sons’ smelly lacrosse shit in there after practice, though I do not look forward to cleaning the inside. Thankfully, it looks like the rubber liner can be removed. Smart.
The bed is big enough to be useful and work like a truck. The size isn’t a deal breaker for me, but i have other trucks with bigger beds. The surface is a thick plastic which seems fairly durable, though i wonder how easy it may be to replace the panels if (when) they get damaged. The hinge flap is a good idea that may have been better conceived, as it bangs a bit when closed, and bounces a lot when driving with it open. Tie downs are we’ll placed and sturdy, and easy to reach from the outside of the truck. Power tonneau is an awesome feature, although it sounds chain driven, which isn’t a big deal, but the noise and clunking associated with it’s operation is jarring while the rest of the truck is so quiet. It doesn’t bother me, but I have been asked if it was covered under warranty, which tells me that others notice the disparity. My FJ40 has metal floors and 35” super swamper tires which sing like drunken Scots on the highway, so a bit of noise now and again isn’t offensive.
I really like the air compressor hookup in the bed; tons of uses for that. However, while the pressure goes over 200 psi, I don’t think you could run air tools without running it to a tank first. Easy enough, but to be noted. Outlets and lights in the bed are perfect, but the spare tire cover is perhaps a little flimsy, as you really need to slam it and ensure both sides are latched for it to remain closed.
I like being able to lower the suspension. I was able to load and unload my sons‘ KX100 into the bed easily, and then toss the straps under the seat when i was done. It also makes it easier on my knees (and the seat of my britches) to step into without all those fancy steps or Ford’s buttplug handle. (For those unfamiliar, Google is your friend)
edit: I recently loaded 18 bags of pellets into the bed (720lbs) with no outward effect. I couldn’t tell they were there.)
I’m not nuts about the hitch being so buried below the license plate, as its kind of a pain to get to, but I probably won’t do much towing with this truck since I have the other trucks, so, nbd. However, I would not want to try to put the hitch pin in at night. It’s hard to see and tight. *See: “Bloody Knuckles” and “Things Your Momma Would Smack You If She Heard You Saying” in the index.
The driving experience is great. Its stupid fast, and so I did the obligatory “scare the bejesus of out your friends” runs when I first got it. That was fun, but make sure you plug it in after, cause it eats miles like a fat girl at the buffet. Regen takes some getting used to, but I figured out that if I take my foot off the throttle like i would normally to apply the brakes, it stops itself pretty much where i would have stopped without regen. I don’t think I’ve used the brakes more than 6 times since i got it. It took some adjustment to my driving style (think Bo Duke to Uncle Jesse), but I like it now.
The suspension is comfortable and pliant without bring too plush. It feels like truck, which I like, but it corners on rails. Ivan Stewart is my spirit animal, so this works for me. I’m definitely going to take it blasting down some forest roads, so look for my later post regarding the costs of body work and airbag efficacy.
I like the adjustable air suspension. It’s helpful not only for economy, but entry, exit, loading, posing, potholes, and protesters. Bear in mind, however, that you can overheat the compressor if, say, in the course of 3 minutes, your 13 year old shows his entire team, one by one, each height setting three times.
As mentioned earlier, it does go very low, (the tires are BURIED in the fenders) which is great if your mother in law wants a ride. On the flip side, it goes high enough to make it feel like a lifted truck on 35’s, which I like the look and feel of, but does affect range. I haven’t taken it off road yet (i do have an FJ40 on 35’s, and an FJ60 on 37’s, so, why?) but i‘ve driven it around the farm and i can tell you the 4 motors obviate the need for a locker, though it can get a bit jerky (for those of you who’ve never driven with a locker.) I‘ve seen video of one running Hell’s Revenge at Moab, i don’t need to test it. Yet…
This is the semi-autonmouse cruise control. It’s fine. I’ve used it a bit and, when there’s a football field in front of you, it’s great. However, if you live in DC (like me), the only time that happens is if you’re at a game. So, if a car pulls in front of you, the system jams on the brakes and you’re making sweet love to the steering wheel. Maybe not that dramatic, but it may have made me shart the first time. It needs work, but will be great going to the beach. I’m sure there’s a way to adjust the distance. Honestly, if i set it while in traffic, it actually does very well. Although turning it off means tapping the brake, which is jerky because the regen kicks in when you let of the throttle. I’ve been told by my advisor that i just push up on the stalk, but that didn’t seem to turn it off. Probably user error, but I’d like to be able to just press one of the buttons and have it disengage.
This is a big one for me, since i drive a lot for work (commerdial real estate) and usually at short notice. Never out of town, but it’s 70 miles from my house to one of my clients, so it’s a consideration.
So far ( yesterday) i learned a few things. Important things.
If you plug it into the 110v socket, to get from 28% to 70% you’ll get a half charge in 4 or 5 days. Seriously. 90 hours. 1 mile per hour. So, after a run to Home Depot at 9:30 last night, i had a 14-50 plug installed in place of one of my welding plugs, which got me a whooping 15 miles/hour. Not terrible, but not ideal. If you plug it in at 8, you’ll be fine 12 hours later.
Download all the charging apps. ChargeAmerica, SemConnect, EvGo, Electrify America, etc. With 78 miles left, I drove up to the closest 50KW charger near me this am at 7:45 (i had a meeting at 10:30), checked email on my iPad for an hour (while my phone conspicuously refused to charge), tried to find aa way to cast letterkenny to the giant, inviting, beckoning screen (no dice), and left with 230 mile. Basically, i got 150 miles in a hour. That is based on driving in Conserve mode, which is just front wheel drive.
A note about Conserve mode. It works, first, so no complaints there. If you’re oin the highway and just heading form a to b, use it. However, being in front wheel drive with those tires and the weight means for a not insignificant amount of torque steer. Like strapping an 8 point buck to the trunk of your Civic kind of torque steer. It’s noticeable, especially if you try to get on it. Like freshman summer with that sweaty girl that wasn’t THAT chubby; she’s a handful. If you’re Gen X or older, you’ll be fine. Millennials and Gen Z’s will be selling their trucks, because all the beard cream on their hands will make the wheel too hard to hold.
Suspension settings here actually make a difference. It’s not like the Hill Descent Control you never used on your Lexus GX. I use the default setting in the city, but set the suspension to High, to absorb the potholes and unemployed protesters. Normal around town, the standard height is fine. Highway speeds automatically lower the suspension, and so in Conserve mode, you actually save a lot of energy, IF you keep it under 70 or so. I went 140 miles yesterday on 100 miles of range. YMMV.
So, I’ve mentioned a few things that need attention, but things I’d like to see in future updates are:
1. Links to service/support when notifications come through. Or, at least more information.
2. The ability to call roadside support from the screen, rather than having to type it into your phone or use the app. (Which you wont be able to do because your phone is dead and it’s under your seat. See: Wireless Chargers and Why They Suck” in the index)
3.Better smartphone integration. The lack of CarPlay isn‘t a deal killer, but we do need some integration. Sending an address to your nav from a text would be nice, as well as better voice recognition. Yes, Alexa is integrated, but i really don’t want ”calling mom” instead of “country music.” Plus, my kid will probably order door dash.
4. The access controls can be a little finicky. Sometimes it’ll open when i look at it from across the property. Sometimes i have to pull the key out and push the button. Idk if that’s the NFC or our 8, mesh network routers screwing with the signal. Whatever, I’m not a programmer. I’m sure it’s just a big that will get fixed.
5. Finally, I’m sure these are coming and have been noted by others, but I’d like to see some ability to cast content from my phone. Not because i want to watch porn while i drive (the Driver+ isn’t THAT good), but because if you’re sitting at a supercharger for an hour and your phone can only be left in one very specific position, it’d be nice to access content while i’m cooling my heels.
I’m confident that, as more and more get delivered and they dial things in, OTA updates will address most of these relatively minor issues. That in and of itself is very cool, since before if we wanted a feature, we had to cobble it together with 2 old iPads, some duct tape, and an old Skoal can. Now, we just make a little noise and they send an update. Brilliant!
Anyway, sorry for the long, rambling post, but i hope some of what I wrote is helpful/interesting etc.
Overall, I’m loving the truck. I feel kind of like Fabio (90’s Fabio, not Fabio 2020 - he’s really let himself go); everyone is pointing and taking pictures. And I’ve gotten stopped by every fucking gearhead and nerd on the planet. So, if you’re a gay hipster, this truck is totally your jam. Or, if you’ve been married forever and so any attention is nice, it’s good for that, too. Whatever floats your boat; it’s a great truck that fun, comfortable, and actually useful. It’s not a gimmick or some clapped together parts car. It is extremely functional, very intuitive to operate, and great looking. 5 stars.