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I've watched probably hundreds of videos on the Rivian, including most of the reviews, etc. So, I knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. Will just discuss the things I actually learned that I either, didn't know and learned from seeing it in person, or that appeared different in person than in the photos......

One can wonder how Rivian discovers these locations for these events? It's definitely a bit out there, at an apparently inactive, or rarely used private airport. They are utilizing an airplane hangar. There were three trucks on display (no SUV's). One with the Ocean Forest interior, the rest in black. No Forest Edge (green) interiors.

One had the camp kitchen. Two had tents on the back. One Blue, one Forest Green and I think one Black. There were at least another 6 or 7 trucks being used for the demo drives. Don't recall seeing a white, yellow, silver or red truck. Most of the remaining colors were represented.

Reservations can be made to go the event and see all that's there on Rivian's website without an invitation. However, demo drives are only available to those who received an invitation from Rivian. So, don't show up expecting to drive or ride in one if you didn't receive an invitation. They will say no (and did to several people).

The demo drive was about 12-15 minutes. A quick get to know it lap around a portion of the runway. Then a bit of off-roading on some mild hills with water ruts in the middle to climb in and out of. No rocks. There were direction signs posted throughout the route with what speed they wanted you to go at each spot. Per Rivian, other than trimming a few bushes, the trail (intended for horses and hikers) was as they found it. The trail was roughly a mile long. Then you pull back on to the runway for a 0-60 run, down to 40 mph, punch it again, back up to 60 mph. Then a demonstration of the Adaptive Cruise Control system, showing that it will come to a stop for a parked vehicle in your path. No street or highway driving to demonstrate the Lane Keep Assist capability. The Rivian rep indicated it has what equates to AP1 from Tesla. It does however, have a display closer to AP2 of Tesla in that it shows vehicles, people and cones on the driver screen behind the wheel. Per the rep, with the current hardware, it will not be capable of Full Self Driving as Tesla's supposedly are.

I've owned several Model S Tesla's, including one Model 3. For my personal tastes, hated the Model 3. Much preferred the far more solid feel of a Model S and the air suspension, especially on the Raven version, which is just incredible in comparison to the stiff suspension of the Model 3. Some prefer the stiffer, sportier ride and smaller size of the 3/Y. I prefer the bigger, more solid, quieter and milder ride quality of an S/X.

Clearly, Rivian has followed in many of Tesla's footsteps. Somethings they've done better. Some things, not quite as good.

1. Overall Quality: The quality, solidity and feel of the vehicle is certainly more Model S like than it is Model 3 like (Yay!). It is a very solid feeling vehicle. Feels higher class and worthy of a $70,000 price tag. The Model 3 by comparison, certainly feels much cheaper. So, was very happy to drive it and see that it measures up closer to a Model S or X than a Model 3 or Y.

2. UI interface: As expected, is somewhat similar to Tesla. Just a lot less of it. To be expected, Tesla has had 10 years and the menu's go on and on and on. Rivian has several menus, but probably with about 25% of the menu options. Some have complained that the user interface was glitchy and a little slow, including map pinching. I didn't notice any issues personally. What was there, responded well and quickly enough that I had no complaints.

2a: Screen Controls: Like Tesla, just about EVERYTHING is controlled through the screen. This was one of my primary complaints about the Model 3 over the Model S. I'm personally one that would prefer at least a couple of high-use buttons that you don't have be distracted to find via on-screen menus. To its credit, while the Model 3 just has two scroll wheels, the Rivian has two buttons on each side of the scroll wheels that allow for a LITTLE more user friendliness. At least it still has a blinker stalk, shifter stalk and normal horn button. Tesla doubled down on the revised Model S as compared to a Model 3 and for me, is all a deal killer to assure that my current S is my last. While not a fan of having to go to the screen for everything, at least they didn't go as far as Tesla did with the new Model S and I can probably live with it thanks to the blinker / shifter stalks, horn and two extra control buttons on the wheel.

3. Cameras: Several have claimed that the camera resolution is below par. The screen is set up to show three views in each direction. One large view from the center of the vehicle outward (front or rear) and then two small side views in which the tires are visible to see what the tires are going to run over or run into. The two small side views were crystal clear with good resolution. The larger center view wasn't the best resolution by any means (like trying to increase a video size to full screen that is a low quality video, distorts as you make it larger, yet is clear if smaller). I certainly agree with the others. But, unless you're trying to spot a flea on the back of your dog, not sure there's really a need for more resolution? If the lower resolutions contribute to lower vehicle cost, I have no problem with them. For what they're purpose is, they work just fine.

4. Hill-Hold: Will call out Doug DeMuro here. He posted a video about the off road capability and emphasized two of his complaints about the vehicle. I can confirm, both were user error rather than features lacking from the truck. He complained that it does not have "hill hold". In Rock Crawl Mode, it does default to "off", but can be turned on. It is otherwise defaulted to "on" in other drive modes.

5. Off-Road Braking: Again, calling out Doug DeMuro as his other complaint was that you have to ride the brakes all the way down a hill. He may be right if you want to go less than 3 MPH. Which, in some cases that may be necessary depending on the terrain. But, the Rivian, when in Rock Crawl Drive Mode, keeps the speed to 3-4 MPH down a steep grade without touching the brake pedal. DeMuro's worry was that you would overheat the brakes. Not sure that will be an issue being that it does all the work down to 3-4 MPH.

6. Ride Quality: Excellent. The air suspension was exceptional. Minimal body roll when swerving back and forth on pavement. The ride was exceptionally smooth through the off-roading portion of the drive. I truly appreciate the adjustable air suspension and should be a big advantage over the F-150.

7. Regenerative Braking: Amazing! Multiple modes, available. The highest mode is very aggressive at lower speeds and will quickly bring the vehicle to a stop. The middle option was still relatively strong and slightly more than a Tesla. I like having more regen available. Far more than either Tesla has. I'd rather it have more, as it does, and just modulate the throttle accordingly. At higher-speeds, it is still stronger than Tesla's regen, but not nearly as aggressive as it as lower speeds. I liked it. With three settings, most can probably find a happy place with it if you're not a fan of aggressive regen. Of course, it can be turned off too.

8. Size: Reviews clearly state that it's more of a mid-size truck and it is. The videos and photos however, do make it appear larger than it is in many areas. It's not a small vehicle by any means, but the bed is definitely quite short and the 4 1/2 foot length is more obvious in person. It's certainly a small bed.

8a. Size: It's smaller size is felt in the rear seat room. The front seats have plenty of room. While there is plenty of room for an adult in the rear seats, the space between the front seatback and the front of the rear seat is definitely limited. Smaller than a Model S or Model 3 and certainly smaller than a crew cab F-150. I expected the bed to be small but expected it to be made up with more rear seat room. While not tiny, was certainly smaller than it appeared to be when seeing it in person. Possibly the price for having the gear tunnel?

8b. Size/Storage: As reviews note, there is no glove box. The little storage spaces under the front seats appear bigger in the videos. They are very small spaces, good for some pens and coins, but not much else. The center storage is very deep, but fairly narrow in terms of length and width. Will be able to stack quite a bit in there, but it is smaller than expected.

8c. Gear Tunnel: Same theme, definitely is smaller in person than it appears in the videos / photos. A two duffle bags pretty much fills it up in terms of width. Could stack another couple of duffle bags on top, but not much more. The pass-thru opening from the rear seat to the gear tunnel however, was much larger than I expected.

8d. Frunk. Probably about as it appears in videos. If anything, a little larger. It's a very good sized frunk, especially when utilizing the lower space below the first floor storage flap. Much deeper than I expected.

8e. Spare Tire Space. Without a spare tire in there, that space is pretty big. Certainly felt bigger than expected.

9. Cup Holders. I expected more a Tesla like rear seat cup holders, but in the front on the Rivian as it is a pop-out cup holder. In the rear of the tesla, it is a fairly flimsy thing that pops out of the console. Rivian's however, is quite impressive for a pop-out cup older. Very solid, thick materials and reflects the notably higher build quality.

10. Interior build quality: While it was designed with a minimalist approach, the quality of the interior materials is certainly high-end in terms of the wood, surfaces, seats and plastics. Again, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Feels richer than the Tesla Model S and far superior a Model 3/Y. The only thing a little questionable were the pull out door pockets and seat back pockets. They're held in by tie-down like straps and felt a little flimsy. Not sure how well those will hold up over time.

11. Fingerprints: If you're one that hates fingerprints on the paint, plan on carrying a microfiber towel with you. while everything can be opened without finger prints, the doors, gear tunnel doors and tailgate will definitely require leaving fingerprints as they all must be closed manually by touching painted surfaces.

12. Tailgate: You can tell it was designed to be an automatic up and down tailgate. Rivian reversed course and removed the auto-up feature. Problem is, unlike any other tailgate that I've closed, the top of the tail gate is slanted and there is really nothing to grab onto when closing the tail gate. It's a slated surface, going away from you, so requires getting your hand well under it to get enough leverage on it to more, push it up than pull it up. When it’s wet (rain), will probably be a little more difficult. Most trucks, have a squared edge with a bit of lip on the end to hook onto to make closing easier. Not a huge deal, but certainly a bit awkward by comparison. I am disappointed they didn't keep the auto-up feature as it was one of the added bonus features it would have had over any other truck.

13. Gear tunnel doors: There is no "shock" control toward the bottom end. They are just door hinges, thus do not land softly into their fully open position. They are sturdy when open, but the landing of the doors was a bit rough. Fairly minor, just means you'll likely want to hold them all the way down rather than just pop them open and let them drop into position. Could create excess wear over time.

14. Spare tire cover. Given, the display vehicles have been used a lot to demonstrate these features, but that's more of an example of how these will fare over time and use. The cover was quite difficult to close and didn't sit flush with bed anymore. Clearly from excessive use.

15. Charge port cover: Fit and finish was a bit off. Assuming the display vehicle had been opened and closed thousands of times, but the door was recessed as compared to the bodywork. Something likely due to heavy use and could be an indicator of how it will hold up over time and use.

16. Interior Color of Ocean Coast: It's not bright white like Tesla's white interior is. It has a very light bluish/grey tint to it. It's Vegan leather and supposedly will now show the common cracking marks that quickly become visible with most genuine leather materials. For a display vehicle, there was no evidence of denim bleed on the seats that might be expected on a high-use vehicle. That appears to be a positive sign for anyone worried about the lighter interior getting dirty over time. "appears" to have held up well so far. I was going to get black just to avoid it getting dirty, but seeing this one might have convinced me otherwise. Would like to have seen the Forest Green. Supposedly it has a bit of grey in it as well, so isn't a true green, but does have a greenish tint to it.

17. Acceleration: Having owned the Performance versions of the Tesla, I have a direct comparison. While it supposedly does 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, it's not the same shock acceleration you get in a Tesla. It's gentler off the line, but pulls harder all the way down, whereas prior Tesla's tapered off after 40 MPH. (The new Tesla at 1.99 seconds pulls all the way now). But, for a TRUCK with 20" all-terrain tires, it is very quick. It has more power than those particular tires can handle as it was slipping the tires off the line, corrected by its traction control.

18. 22 inch versus 20 inch Wheels:
Being that I don't plan on off-roading too often, I had planned on the 22" wheels with sportier street tires, which will improve 0-60 MPH times as they have better on-road traction. But, after seeing it in person, the 20" wheels look SO MUCH BETTER. I would generally leave this off the list as it's a "personal opinion and preference", but, was really surprised at how much better the 20" wheels naturally fit this vehicle. The 22" looked too big for the size of vehicle and out of place. Of all vehicles they had there, all but one had the 20's.

My Personal Summary Conclusion: Overall build and ride quality exceeded expectations. A very solid, higher-end vehicle overall. The tailgate is very sturdy. The front hood is also solid. But, some of the side doors, charge port doors, storage pockets and storage bay doors are on the cheaper side. Plan ahead and be gentle with these from the start and they'll hold up better over time, but are items that will otherwise show their wear from use sooner than the rest of the vehicle. And, size. Overall, the totality of the vehicle size felt about as it appeared to be in videos/photos, however, the interior, bed, gear tunnel and interior storage pockets were a bit smaller in person than expected. On the flip side, the frunk and spare tire spaces were larger than expected.

This is a truck, Tesla's are different vehicles with a different purpose. I compare the two based on firsthand knowledge of both and they both rank as the top EV's of their vehicle class/type. If you're one that truly loves all the party tricks Tesla has to offer, the Rivian will feel like a step back in time to the early versions of Tesla. As expected, it's not nearly as advanced. Technology changes so quickly these days. Rivian followed a model from Tesla from years ago. As a new company, has taken time to get to production. Some can be improved over time with software updates. But, if the tech is one of the primary features you're seeking, it is well behind a Tesla in that department. But, certainly not bad if just viewing it as a standalone vehicle and not comparing it to anything else.

If you want a "work truck", the Rivian is quite small by comparison. It was not designed to be a work truck and absolutely is not one. Just like Tesla isn't a "luxury" car. But, if you're buying a truck simply because you like the look of a truck, yet wish you had the ride quality of a higher-end vehicle, then the Rivian certainly fits the bill. It fits for those looking for a "statement" type of vehicle. Unique and cool, but as its own vehicle, not so much by comparison to something else. If you want an off-road vehicle and want to be kind to the planet, the Rivian certainly fits the bill.

Just like Tesla is commonly compared to Mercedes, BMW, Audi because its price point is competitive, it is not at all a "luxury" vehicle, but is a high quality technological marvel, the Rivian is its own vehicle too. If you would consider a Land Rover / Range Rover, the Rivian probably compares similarly to that as the Tesla does to a Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Not as luxurious, but trades that off with its added quirks and features and true off-road capability.

Range on the vehicle I drove, showed 245 miles at 90%. But, unlike Tesla's range rating being based only on best case scenario, Rivian's adjust to your driving style. So, for a vehicle that's been off-roading and doing full throttle 0-60 runs, 245 miles at 90% is not a bad "real world" figure.

For me, I'm more about the style of having a truck than the need for having a truck "statement vehicle". The Rivian fits well. It's a good size for every day driving. I'm not using it as a work truck, thus will suit me just fine. The only question for me is, when I can get it? Seeing it in person didn't offer too many surprises over what I already knew and certainly no deal breakers. It did pleasantly reassure me that its ride and quality are superior to just about any other "truck" on the planet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If the difference in cost for between a sensor that people are describing produces the video quality of an old Toyota backup camera from 10 users ago and what is expected of any modern car that's above $40k is a cost saving decision we are gonna have issues.
Every little bit helps. Considering the Rivian is roughly the same price of a Performance Model Y, I'd much rather have the Rivian. It's a far higher quality vehicle than the Model Y. Tesla might have better tech from experience, but they certainly cut a whole heck of a lot more corners with the Model 3/Y than Rivian has with their vehicles. The Model X compares a little closer in terms of build quality, has more features, but is also $35,000 more money for the Long Range Version. Around $70,000 more for the Performance Version. Point being, not going to complain about resolution on the camera view as it really has no impact on the usability of the vehicle. I'd rather see them invest into making the tailgate automatic UP too. Or improving the tech features. Getting Tank Turn to work properly. I can tell you from firsthand experience, there's a whole lot more below par aspects to complain about on the Tesla than there is on the Rivian. Just in terms of panel gaps / alignment alone, Tesla has had 10 years to get it right and still struggle mightily. Rivian does appear to be taking the approach of "getting it right" before releasing to the masses, rather than just saying "good enough, ship it".

Then again, considering all the shortages in getting tech parts over the past year or two, could just be case of that's all they could get in the quantity they need and made the call that it was an acceptable sacrifice to settle on, rather than hold up production. If that's the case, then I'm sure they'll change them at some point without any fanfare.
 

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If the difference in cost for between a sensor that people are describing produces the video quality of an old Toyota backup camera from 10 users ago and what is expected of any modern car that's above $40k is a cost saving decision we are gonna have issues.
As far as I can tell, a representative 13MP CMOS sensor from Sony is less than <$2. I'd gladly swap that out for something less expensive than the Chilewich I'll stick in my garage. 😋

And I would argue a crappy camera does impact vehicle usage. Especially at night.

If it actually is a how resolution, in guessing it's to reduce the computational effort for Driver+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And I would argue a crappy camera does impact vehicle usage. Especially at night.

If it actually is a how resolution, in guessing it's to reduce the computational effort for Driver+.
Do we know if it's the camera, or the screen or somewhere in between? Could just be software programming in how much resolution is transferred based on optimal data transfer limits for multiple camera views at one time. As noted, the side views were crystal clear. Would seem odd if they used a different camera resolution for the side cameras than they did for the center cameras. Each will have their own opinions based on what's important to their preference. For me, personally, ranks at the bottom of the list of any concerns. And, could be revised at a later date if it software related. Amazing to see the things Tesla has improved just with over the air updates. Rivian will likely do the same.
 

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Do we know if it's the camera, or the screen or somewhere in between? Could just be software programming in how much resolution is transferred based on optimal data transfer limits for multiple camera views at one time. As noted, the side views were crystal clear. Would seem odd if they used a different camera resolution for the side cameras than they did for the center cameras. Each will have their own opinions based on what's important to their preference. For me, personally, ranks at the bottom of the list of any concerns. And, could be revised at a later date if it software related. Amazing to see the things Tesla has improved just with over the air updates. Rivian will likely do the same.
Nobody has seen the specs of the hardware that I'm aware of. Which was basically my point of saying if it's a hardware issue of the camera, then there is probably a reason for it, but it likely isn't cost. It wouldn't surprise me if they need lower res for forward facing. It could also just be that it needs some software adjustments. Definitely not the screen.

I actually care a lot more about the backup camera and the front facing. Mostly because I have a car with a well designed backup camera, and one that is terrible in anything but good sunlight. The latter is just really frustrating like a rock in the shoe because you get used to using it.
 

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If the difference in cost for between a sensor that people are describing produces the video quality of an old Toyota backup camera from 10 users ago and what is expected of any modern car that's above $40k is a cost saving decision we are gonna have issues.
Thanks for taking the time to provide a detailed write-up...very helpful for someone that pre-ordered early and is in "wait mode" (delivery date March - April 2022). I've been a little disappointed with the lack of communication which has been markedly different than with my Lucid Air pre-order (very clear, timely, thorough follow-through).
 

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I've watched probably hundreds of videos on the Rivian, including most of the reviews, etc. So, I knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. Will just discuss the things I actually learned that I either, didn't know and learned from seeing it in person, or that appeared different in person than in the photos......

One can wonder how Rivian discovers these locations for these events? It's definitely a bit out there, at an apparently inactive, or rarely used private airport. They are utilizing an airplane hangar. There were three trucks on display (no SUV's). One with the Ocean Forest interior, the rest in black. No Forest Edge (green) interiors.

One had the camp kitchen. Two had tents on the back. One Blue, one Forest Green and I think one Black. There were at least another 6 or 7 trucks being used for the demo drives. Don't recall seeing a white, yellow, silver or red truck. Most of the remaining colors were represented.

Reservations can be made to go the event and see all that's there on Rivian's website without an invitation. However, demo drives are only available to those who received an invitation from Rivian. So, don't show up expecting to drive or ride in one if you didn't receive an invitation. They will say no (and did to several people).

The demo drive was about 12-15 minutes. A quick get to know it lap around a portion of the runway. Then a bit of off-roading on some mild hills with water ruts in the middle to climb in and out of. No rocks. There were direction signs posted throughout the route with what speed they wanted you to go at each spot. Per Rivian, other than trimming a few bushes, the trail (intended for horses and hikers) was as they found it. The trail was roughly a mile long. Then you pull back on to the runway for a 0-60 run, down to 40 mph, punch it again, back up to 60 mph. Then a demonstration of the Adaptive Cruise Control system, showing that it will come to a stop for a parked vehicle in your path. No street or highway driving to demonstrate the Lane Keep Assist capability. The Rivian rep indicated it has what equates to AP1 from Tesla. It does however, have a display closer to AP2 of Tesla in that it shows vehicles, people and cones on the driver screen behind the wheel. Per the rep, with the current hardware, it will not be capable of Full Self Driving as Tesla's supposedly are.

I've owned several Model S Tesla's, including one Model 3. For my personal tastes, hated the Model 3. Much preferred the far more solid feel of a Model S and the air suspension, especially on the Raven version, which is just incredible in comparison to the stiff suspension of the Model 3. Some prefer the stiffer, sportier ride and smaller size of the 3/Y. I prefer the bigger, more solid, quieter and milder ride quality of an S/X.

Clearly, Rivian has followed in many of Tesla's footsteps. Somethings they've done better. Some things, not quite as good.

1. Overall Quality: The quality, solidity and feel of the vehicle is certainly more Model S like than it is Model 3 like (Yay!). It is a very solid feeling vehicle. Feels higher class and worthy of a $70,000 price tag. The Model 3 by comparison, certainly feels much cheaper. So, was very happy to drive it and see that it measures up closer to a Model S or X than a Model 3 or Y.

2. UI interface: As expected, is somewhat similar to Tesla. Just a lot less of it. To be expected, Tesla has had 10 years and the menu's go on and on and on. Rivian has several menus, but probably with about 25% of the menu options. Some have complained that the user interface was glitchy and a little slow, including map pinching. I didn't notice any issues personally. What was there, responded well and quickly enough that I had no complaints.

2a: Screen Controls: Like Tesla, just about EVERYTHING is controlled through the screen. This was one of my primary complaints about the Model 3 over the Model S. I'm personally one that would prefer at least a couple of high-use buttons that you don't have be distracted to find via on-screen menus. To its credit, while the Model 3 just has two scroll wheels, the Rivian has two buttons on each side of the scroll wheels that allow for a LITTLE more user friendliness. At least it still has a blinker stalk, shifter stalk and normal horn button. Tesla doubled down on the revised Model S as compared to a Model 3 and for me, is all a deal killer to assure that my current S is my last. While not a fan of having to go to the screen for everything, at least they didn't go as far as Tesla did with the new Model S and I can probably live with it thanks to the blinker / shifter stalks, horn and two extra control buttons on the wheel.

3. Cameras: Several have claimed that the camera resolution is below par. The screen is set up to show three views in each direction. One large view from the center of the vehicle outward (front or rear) and then two small side views in which the tires are visible to see what the tires are going to run over or run into. The two small side views were crystal clear with good resolution. The larger center view wasn't the best resolution by any means (like trying to increase a video size to full screen that is a low quality video, distorts as you make it larger, yet is clear if smaller). I certainly agree with the others. But, unless you're trying to spot a flea on the back of your dog, not sure there's really a need for more resolution? If the lower resolutions contribute to lower vehicle cost, I have no problem with them. For what they're purpose is, they work just fine.

4. Hill-Hold: Will call out Doug DeMuro here. He posted a video about the off road capability and emphasized two of his complaints about the vehicle. I can confirm, both were user error rather than features lacking from the truck. He complained that it does not have "hill hold". In Rock Crawl Mode, it does default to "off", but can be turned on. It is otherwise defaulted to "on" in other drive modes.

5. Off-Road Braking: Again, calling out Doug DeMuro as his other complaint was that you have to ride the brakes all the way down a hill. He may be right if you want to go less than 3 MPH. Which, in some cases that may be necessary depending on the terrain. But, the Rivian, when in Rock Crawl Drive Mode, keeps the speed to 3-4 MPH down a steep grade without touching the brake pedal. DeMuro's worry was that you would overheat the brakes. Not sure that will be an issue being that it does all the work down to 3-4 MPH.

6. Ride Quality: Excellent. The air suspension was exceptional. Minimal body roll when swerving back and forth on pavement. The ride was exceptionally smooth through the off-roading portion of the drive. I truly appreciate the adjustable air suspension and should be a big advantage over the F-150.

7. Regenerative Braking: Amazing! Multiple modes, available. The highest mode is very aggressive at lower speeds and will quickly bring the vehicle to a stop. The middle option was still relatively strong and slightly more than a Tesla. I like having more regen available. Far more than either Tesla has. I'd rather it have more, as it does, and just modulate the throttle accordingly. At higher-speeds, it is still stronger than Tesla's regen, but not nearly as aggressive as it as lower speeds. I liked it. With three settings, most can probably find a happy place with it if you're not a fan of aggressive regen. Of course, it can be turned off too.

8. Size: Reviews clearly state that it's more of a mid-size truck and it is. The videos and photos however, do make it appear larger than it is in many areas. It's not a small vehicle by any means, but the bed is definitely quite short and the 4 1/2 foot length is more obvious in person. It's certainly a small bed.

8a. Size: It's smaller size is felt in the rear seat room. The front seats have plenty of room. While there is plenty of room for an adult in the rear seats, the space between the front seatback and the front of the rear seat is definitely limited. Smaller than a Model S or Model 3 and certainly smaller than a crew cab F-150. I expected the bed to be small but expected it to be made up with more rear seat room. While not tiny, was certainly smaller than it appeared to be when seeing it in person. Possibly the price for having the gear tunnel?

8b. Size/Storage: As reviews note, there is no glove box. The little storage spaces under the front seats appear bigger in the videos. They are very small spaces, good for some pens and coins, but not much else. The center storage is very deep, but fairly narrow in terms of length and width. Will be able to stack quite a bit in there, but it is smaller than expected.

8c. Gear Tunnel: Same theme, definitely is smaller in person than it appears in the videos / photos. A two duffle bags pretty much fills it up in terms of width. Could stack another couple of duffle bags on top, but not much more. The pass-thru opening from the rear seat to the gear tunnel however, was much larger than I expected.

8d. Frunk. Probably about as it appears in videos. If anything, a little larger. It's a very good sized frunk, especially when utilizing the lower space below the first floor storage flap. Much deeper than I expected.

8e. Spare Tire Space. Without a spare tire in there, that space is pretty big. Certainly felt bigger than expected.

9. Cup Holders. I expected more a Tesla like rear seat cup holders, but in the front on the Rivian as it is a pop-out cup holder. In the rear of the tesla, it is a fairly flimsy thing that pops out of the console. Rivian's however, is quite impressive for a pop-out cup older. Very solid, thick materials and reflects the notably higher build quality.

10. Interior build quality: While it was designed with a minimalist approach, the quality of the interior materials is certainly high-end in terms of the wood, surfaces, seats and plastics. Again, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Feels richer than the Tesla Model S and far superior a Model 3/Y. The only thing a little questionable were the pull out door pockets and seat back pockets. They're held in by tie-down like straps and felt a little flimsy. Not sure how well those will hold up over time.

11. Fingerprints: If you're one that hates fingerprints on the paint, plan on carrying a microfiber towel with you. while everything can be opened without finger prints, the doors, gear tunnel doors and tailgate will definitely require leaving fingerprints as they all must be closed manually by touching painted surfaces.

12. Tailgate: You can tell it was designed to be an automatic up and down tailgate. Rivian reversed course and removed the auto-up feature. Problem is, unlike any other tailgate that I've closed, the top of the tail gate is slanted and there is really nothing to grab onto when closing the tail gate. It's a slated surface, going away from you, so requires getting your hand well under it to get enough leverage on it to more, push it up than pull it up. When it’s wet (rain), will probably be a little more difficult. Most trucks, have a squared edge with a bit of lip on the end to hook onto to make closing easier. Not a huge deal, but certainly a bit awkward by comparison. I am disappointed they didn't keep the auto-up feature as it was one of the added bonus features it would have had over any other truck.

13. Gear tunnel doors: There is no "shock" control toward the bottom end. They are just door hinges, thus do not land softly into their fully open position. They are sturdy when open, but the landing of the doors was a bit rough. Fairly minor, just means you'll likely want to hold them all the way down rather than just pop them open and let them drop into position. Could create excess wear over time.

14. Spare tire cover. Given, the display vehicles have been used a lot to demonstrate these features, but that's more of an example of how these will fare over time and use. The cover was quite difficult to close and didn't sit flush with bed anymore. Clearly from excessive use.

15. Charge port cover: Fit and finish was a bit off. Assuming the display vehicle had been opened and closed thousands of times, but the door was recessed as compared to the bodywork. Something likely due to heavy use and could be an indicator of how it will hold up over time and use.

16. Interior Color of Ocean Coast: It's not bright white like Tesla's white interior is. It has a very light bluish/grey tint to it. It's Vegan leather and supposedly will now show the common cracking marks that quickly become visible with most genuine leather materials. For a display vehicle, there was no evidence of denim bleed on the seats that might be expected on a high-use vehicle. That appears to be a positive sign for anyone worried about the lighter interior getting dirty over time. "appears" to have held up well so far. I was going to get black just to avoid it getting dirty, but seeing this one might have convinced me otherwise. Would like to have seen the Forest Green. Supposedly it has a bit of grey in it as well, so isn't a true green, but does have a greenish tint to it.

17. Acceleration: Having owned the Performance versions of the Tesla, I have a direct comparison. While it supposedly does 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, it's not the same shock acceleration you get in a Tesla. It's gentler off the line, but pulls harder all the way down, whereas prior Tesla's tapered off after 40 MPH. (The new Tesla at 1.99 seconds pulls all the way now). But, for a TRUCK with 20" all-terrain tires, it is very quick. It has more power than those particular tires can handle as it was slipping the tires off the line, corrected by its traction control.

18. 22 inch versus 20 inch Wheels: Being that I don't plan on off-roading too often, I had planned on the 22" wheels with sportier street tires, which will improve 0-60 MPH times as they have better on-road traction. But, after seeing it in person, the 20" wheels look SO MUCH BETTER. I would generally leave this off the list as it's a "personal opinion and preference", but, was really surprised at how much better the 20" wheels naturally fit this vehicle. The 22" looked too big for the size of vehicle and out of place. Of all vehicles they had there, all but one had the 20's.

My Personal Summary Conclusion: Overall build and ride quality exceeded expectations. A very solid, higher-end vehicle overall. The tailgate is very sturdy. The front hood is also solid. But, some of the side doors, charge port doors, storage pockets and storage bay doors are on the cheaper side. Plan ahead and be gentle with these from the start and they'll hold up better over time, but are items that will otherwise show their wear from use sooner than the rest of the vehicle. And, size. Overall, the totality of the vehicle size felt about as it appeared to be in videos/photos, however, the interior, bed, gear tunnel and interior storage pockets were a bit smaller in person than expected. On the flip side, the frunk and spare tire spaces were larger than expected.

This is a truck, Tesla's are different vehicles with a different purpose. I compare the two based on firsthand knowledge of both and they both rank as the top EV's of their vehicle class/type. If you're one that truly loves all the party tricks Tesla has to offer, the Rivian will feel like a step back in time to the early versions of Tesla. As expected, it's not nearly as advanced. Technology changes so quickly these days. Rivian followed a model from Tesla from years ago. As a new company, has taken time to get to production. Some can be improved over time with software updates. But, if the tech is one of the primary features you're seeking, it is well behind a Tesla in that department. But, certainly not bad if just viewing it as a standalone vehicle and not comparing it to anything else.

If you want a "work truck", the Rivian is quite small by comparison. It was not designed to be a work truck and absolutely is not one. Just like Tesla isn't a "luxury" car. But, if you're buying a truck simply because you like the look of a truck, yet wish you had the ride quality of a higher-end vehicle, then the Rivian certainly fits the bill. It fits for those looking for a "statement" type of vehicle. Unique and cool, but as its own vehicle, not so much by comparison to something else. If you want an off-road vehicle and want to be kind to the planet, the Rivian certainly fits the bill.

Just like Tesla is commonly compared to Mercedes, BMW, Audi because its price point is competitive, it is not at all a "luxury" vehicle, but is a high quality technological marvel, the Rivian is its own vehicle too. If you would consider a Land Rover / Range Rover, the Rivian probably compares similarly to that as the Tesla does to a Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Not as luxurious, but trades that off with its added quirks and features and true off-road capability.

Range on the vehicle I drove, showed 245 miles at 90%. But, unlike Tesla's range rating being based only on best case scenario, Rivian's adjust to your driving style. So, for a vehicle that's been off-roading and doing full throttle 0-60 runs, 245 miles at 90% is not a bad "real world" figure.

For me, I'm more about the style of having a truck than the need for having a truck "statement vehicle". The Rivian fits well. It's a good size for every day driving. I'm not using it as a work truck, thus will suit me just fine. The only question for me is, when I can get it? Seeing it in person didn't offer too many surprises over what I already knew and certainly no deal breakers. It did pleasantly reassure me that its ride and quality are superior to just about any other "truck" on the planet.
Well done, and very much appreciated! cheers
 

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@kizamybute'
Great review and details! Good that it’s based on your prior ownerships of Teslas as comparisons. Couple of questions since I’ll be doing the drive event today.

Do they allow video devices like GoPro or the like while in the truck? Secondly, since I do lots of off-roading and intend to use the truck as such, do they let you control the modes while on dirt?
 

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Thanks very much @kizamybute' ... super helpful, and as mentioned above especially since you have a long history with Tesla's.

Regarding the main front view cam.. it's very possible it's native 1080p, but the image is downrezed to 720p to keep CPU/GPU workload down for keeping the user GUI (main display screen) snappy and responsive?

Later, with software refinements making it more efficient and less CPU/GPU intensive- perhaps they will "unlock" the front cam resolution up to 1080p.
 

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I've watched probably hundreds of videos on the Rivian, including most of the reviews, etc. So, I knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. Will just discuss the things I actually learned that I either, didn't know and learned from seeing it in person, or that appeared different in person than in the photos......

One can wonder how Rivian discovers these locations for these events? It's definitely a bit out there, at an apparently inactive, or rarely used private airport. They are utilizing an airplane hangar. There were three trucks on display (no SUV's). One with the Ocean Forest interior, the rest in black. No Forest Edge (green) interiors.

One had the camp kitchen. Two had tents on the back. One Blue, one Forest Green and I think one Black. There were at least another 6 or 7 trucks being used for the demo drives. Don't recall seeing a white, yellow, silver or red truck. Most of the remaining colors were represented.

Reservations can be made to go the event and see all that's there on Rivian's website without an invitation. However, demo drives are only available to those who received an invitation from Rivian. So, don't show up expecting to drive or ride in one if you didn't receive an invitation. They will say no (and did to several people).

The demo drive was about 12-15 minutes. A quick get to know it lap around a portion of the runway. Then a bit of off-roading on some mild hills with water ruts in the middle to climb in and out of. No rocks. There were direction signs posted throughout the route with what speed they wanted you to go at each spot. Per Rivian, other than trimming a few bushes, the trail (intended for horses and hikers) was as they found it. The trail was roughly a mile long. Then you pull back on to the runway for a 0-60 run, down to 40 mph, punch it again, back up to 60 mph. Then a demonstration of the Adaptive Cruise Control system, showing that it will come to a stop for a parked vehicle in your path. No street or highway driving to demonstrate the Lane Keep Assist capability. The Rivian rep indicated it has what equates to AP1 from Tesla. It does however, have a display closer to AP2 of Tesla in that it shows vehicles, people and cones on the driver screen behind the wheel. Per the rep, with the current hardware, it will not be capable of Full Self Driving as Tesla's supposedly are.

I've owned several Model S Tesla's, including one Model 3. For my personal tastes, hated the Model 3. Much preferred the far more solid feel of a Model S and the air suspension, especially on the Raven version, which is just incredible in comparison to the stiff suspension of the Model 3. Some prefer the stiffer, sportier ride and smaller size of the 3/Y. I prefer the bigger, more solid, quieter and milder ride quality of an S/X.

Clearly, Rivian has followed in many of Tesla's footsteps. Somethings they've done better. Some things, not quite as good.

1. Overall Quality: The quality, solidity and feel of the vehicle is certainly more Model S like than it is Model 3 like (Yay!). It is a very solid feeling vehicle. Feels higher class and worthy of a $70,000 price tag. The Model 3 by comparison, certainly feels much cheaper. So, was very happy to drive it and see that it measures up closer to a Model S or X than a Model 3 or Y.

2. UI interface: As expected, is somewhat similar to Tesla. Just a lot less of it. To be expected, Tesla has had 10 years and the menu's go on and on and on. Rivian has several menus, but probably with about 25% of the menu options. Some have complained that the user interface was glitchy and a little slow, including map pinching. I didn't notice any issues personally. What was there, responded well and quickly enough that I had no complaints.

2a: Screen Controls: Like Tesla, just about EVERYTHING is controlled through the screen. This was one of my primary complaints about the Model 3 over the Model S. I'm personally one that would prefer at least a couple of high-use buttons that you don't have be distracted to find via on-screen menus. To its credit, while the Model 3 just has two scroll wheels, the Rivian has two buttons on each side of the scroll wheels that allow for a LITTLE more user friendliness. At least it still has a blinker stalk, shifter stalk and normal horn button. Tesla doubled down on the revised Model S as compared to a Model 3 and for me, is all a deal killer to assure that my current S is my last. While not a fan of having to go to the screen for everything, at least they didn't go as far as Tesla did with the new Model S and I can probably live with it thanks to the blinker / shifter stalks, horn and two extra control buttons on the wheel.

3. Cameras: Several have claimed that the camera resolution is below par. The screen is set up to show three views in each direction. One large view from the center of the vehicle outward (front or rear) and then two small side views in which the tires are visible to see what the tires are going to run over or run into. The two small side views were crystal clear with good resolution. The larger center view wasn't the best resolution by any means (like trying to increase a video size to full screen that is a low quality video, distorts as you make it larger, yet is clear if smaller). I certainly agree with the others. But, unless you're trying to spot a flea on the back of your dog, not sure there's really a need for more resolution? If the lower resolutions contribute to lower vehicle cost, I have no problem with them. For what they're purpose is, they work just fine.

4. Hill-Hold: Will call out Doug DeMuro here. He posted a video about the off road capability and emphasized two of his complaints about the vehicle. I can confirm, both were user error rather than features lacking from the truck. He complained that it does not have "hill hold". In Rock Crawl Mode, it does default to "off", but can be turned on. It is otherwise defaulted to "on" in other drive modes.

5. Off-Road Braking: Again, calling out Doug DeMuro as his other complaint was that you have to ride the brakes all the way down a hill. He may be right if you want to go less than 3 MPH. Which, in some cases that may be necessary depending on the terrain. But, the Rivian, when in Rock Crawl Drive Mode, keeps the speed to 3-4 MPH down a steep grade without touching the brake pedal. DeMuro's worry was that you would overheat the brakes. Not sure that will be an issue being that it does all the work down to 3-4 MPH.

6. Ride Quality: Excellent. The air suspension was exceptional. Minimal body roll when swerving back and forth on pavement. The ride was exceptionally smooth through the off-roading portion of the drive. I truly appreciate the adjustable air suspension and should be a big advantage over the F-150.

7. Regenerative Braking: Amazing! Multiple modes, available. The highest mode is very aggressive at lower speeds and will quickly bring the vehicle to a stop. The middle option was still relatively strong and slightly more than a Tesla. I like having more regen available. Far more than either Tesla has. I'd rather it have more, as it does, and just modulate the throttle accordingly. At higher-speeds, it is still stronger than Tesla's regen, but not nearly as aggressive as it as lower speeds. I liked it. With three settings, most can probably find a happy place with it if you're not a fan of aggressive regen. Of course, it can be turned off too.

8. Size: Reviews clearly state that it's more of a mid-size truck and it is. The videos and photos however, do make it appear larger than it is in many areas. It's not a small vehicle by any means, but the bed is definitely quite short and the 4 1/2 foot length is more obvious in person. It's certainly a small bed.

8a. Size: It's smaller size is felt in the rear seat room. The front seats have plenty of room. While there is plenty of room for an adult in the rear seats, the space between the front seatback and the front of the rear seat is definitely limited. Smaller than a Model S or Model 3 and certainly smaller than a crew cab F-150. I expected the bed to be small but expected it to be made up with more rear seat room. While not tiny, was certainly smaller than it appeared to be when seeing it in person. Possibly the price for having the gear tunnel?

8b. Size/Storage: As reviews note, there is no glove box. The little storage spaces under the front seats appear bigger in the videos. They are very small spaces, good for some pens and coins, but not much else. The center storage is very deep, but fairly narrow in terms of length and width. Will be able to stack quite a bit in there, but it is smaller than expected.

8c. Gear Tunnel: Same theme, definitely is smaller in person than it appears in the videos / photos. A two duffle bags pretty much fills it up in terms of width. Could stack another couple of duffle bags on top, but not much more. The pass-thru opening from the rear seat to the gear tunnel however, was much larger than I expected.

8d. Frunk. Probably about as it appears in videos. If anything, a little larger. It's a very good sized frunk, especially when utilizing the lower space below the first floor storage flap. Much deeper than I expected.

8e. Spare Tire Space. Without a spare tire in there, that space is pretty big. Certainly felt bigger than expected.

9. Cup Holders. I expected more a Tesla like rear seat cup holders, but in the front on the Rivian as it is a pop-out cup holder. In the rear of the tesla, it is a fairly flimsy thing that pops out of the console. Rivian's however, is quite impressive for a pop-out cup older. Very solid, thick materials and reflects the notably higher build quality.

10. Interior build quality: While it was designed with a minimalist approach, the quality of the interior materials is certainly high-end in terms of the wood, surfaces, seats and plastics. Again, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Feels richer than the Tesla Model S and far superior a Model 3/Y. The only thing a little questionable were the pull out door pockets and seat back pockets. They're held in by tie-down like straps and felt a little flimsy. Not sure how well those will hold up over time.

11. Fingerprints: If you're one that hates fingerprints on the paint, plan on carrying a microfiber towel with you. while everything can be opened without finger prints, the doors, gear tunnel doors and tailgate will definitely require leaving fingerprints as they all must be closed manually by touching painted surfaces.

12. Tailgate: You can tell it was designed to be an automatic up and down tailgate. Rivian reversed course and removed the auto-up feature. Problem is, unlike any other tailgate that I've closed, the top of the tail gate is slanted and there is really nothing to grab onto when closing the tail gate. It's a slated surface, going away from you, so requires getting your hand well under it to get enough leverage on it to more, push it up than pull it up. When it’s wet (rain), will probably be a little more difficult. Most trucks, have a squared edge with a bit of lip on the end to hook onto to make closing easier. Not a huge deal, but certainly a bit awkward by comparison. I am disappointed they didn't keep the auto-up feature as it was one of the added bonus features it would have had over any other truck.

13. Gear tunnel doors: There is no "shock" control toward the bottom end. They are just door hinges, thus do not land softly into their fully open position. They are sturdy when open, but the landing of the doors was a bit rough. Fairly minor, just means you'll likely want to hold them all the way down rather than just pop them open and let them drop into position. Could create excess wear over time.

14. Spare tire cover. Given, the display vehicles have been used a lot to demonstrate these features, but that's more of an example of how these will fare over time and use. The cover was quite difficult to close and didn't sit flush with bed anymore. Clearly from excessive use.

15. Charge port cover: Fit and finish was a bit off. Assuming the display vehicle had been opened and closed thousands of times, but the door was recessed as compared to the bodywork. Something likely due to heavy use and could be an indicator of how it will hold up over time and use.

16. Interior Color of Ocean Coast: It's not bright white like Tesla's white interior is. It has a very light bluish/grey tint to it. It's Vegan leather and supposedly will now show the common cracking marks that quickly become visible with most genuine leather materials. For a display vehicle, there was no evidence of denim bleed on the seats that might be expected on a high-use vehicle. That appears to be a positive sign for anyone worried about the lighter interior getting dirty over time. "appears" to have held up well so far. I was going to get black just to avoid it getting dirty, but seeing this one might have convinced me otherwise. Would like to have seen the Forest Green. Supposedly it has a bit of grey in it as well, so isn't a true green, but does have a greenish tint to it.

17. Acceleration: Having owned the Performance versions of the Tesla, I have a direct comparison. While it supposedly does 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, it's not the same shock acceleration you get in a Tesla. It's gentler off the line, but pulls harder all the way down, whereas prior Tesla's tapered off after 40 MPH. (The new Tesla at 1.99 seconds pulls all the way now). But, for a TRUCK with 20" all-terrain tires, it is very quick. It has more power than those particular tires can handle as it was slipping the tires off the line, corrected by its traction control.

18. 22 inch versus 20 inch Wheels: Being that I don't plan on off-roading too often, I had planned on the 22" wheels with sportier street tires, which will improve 0-60 MPH times as they have better on-road traction. But, after seeing it in person, the 20" wheels look SO MUCH BETTER. I would generally leave this off the list as it's a "personal opinion and preference", but, was really surprised at how much better the 20" wheels naturally fit this vehicle. The 22" looked too big for the size of vehicle and out of place. Of all vehicles they had there, all but one had the 20's.

My Personal Summary Conclusion: Overall build and ride quality exceeded expectations. A very solid, higher-end vehicle overall. The tailgate is very sturdy. The front hood is also solid. But, some of the side doors, charge port doors, storage pockets and storage bay doors are on the cheaper side. Plan ahead and be gentle with these from the start and they'll hold up better over time, but are items that will otherwise show their wear from use sooner than the rest of the vehicle. And, size. Overall, the totality of the vehicle size felt about as it appeared to be in videos/photos, however, the interior, bed, gear tunnel and interior storage pockets were a bit smaller in person than expected. On the flip side, the frunk and spare tire spaces were larger than expected.

This is a truck, Tesla's are different vehicles with a different purpose. I compare the two based on firsthand knowledge of both and they both rank as the top EV's of their vehicle class/type. If you're one that truly loves all the party tricks Tesla has to offer, the Rivian will feel like a step back in time to the early versions of Tesla. As expected, it's not nearly as advanced. Technology changes so quickly these days. Rivian followed a model from Tesla from years ago. As a new company, has taken time to get to production. Some can be improved over time with software updates. But, if the tech is one of the primary features you're seeking, it is well behind a Tesla in that department. But, certainly not bad if just viewing it as a standalone vehicle and not comparing it to anything else.

If you want a "work truck", the Rivian is quite small by comparison. It was not designed to be a work truck and absolutely is not one. Just like Tesla isn't a "luxury" car. But, if you're buying a truck simply because you like the look of a truck, yet wish you had the ride quality of a higher-end vehicle, then the Rivian certainly fits the bill. It fits for those looking for a "statement" type of vehicle. Unique and cool, but as its own vehicle, not so much by comparison to something else. If you want an off-road vehicle and want to be kind to the planet, the Rivian certainly fits the bill.

Just like Tesla is commonly compared to Mercedes, BMW, Audi because its price point is competitive, it is not at all a "luxury" vehicle, but is a high quality technological marvel, the Rivian is its own vehicle too. If you would consider a Land Rover / Range Rover, the Rivian probably compares similarly to that as the Tesla does to a Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Not as luxurious, but trades that off with its added quirks and features and true off-road capability.

Range on the vehicle I drove, showed 245 miles at 90%. But, unlike Tesla's range rating being based only on best case scenario, Rivian's adjust to your driving style. So, for a vehicle that's been off-roading and doing full throttle 0-60 runs, 245 miles at 90% is not a bad "real world" figure.

For me, I'm more about the style of having a truck than the need for having a truck "statement vehicle". The Rivian fits well. It's a good size for every day driving. I'm not using it as a work truck, thus will suit me just fine. The only question for me is, when I can get it? Seeing it in person didn't offer too many surprises over what I already knew and certainly no deal breakers. It did pleasantly reassure me that its ride and quality are superior to just about any other "truck" on the planet.
Well said.
I've watched probably hundreds of videos on the Rivian, including most of the reviews, etc. So, I knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. Will just discuss the things I actually learned that I either, didn't know and learned from seeing it in person, or that appeared different in person than in the photos......

One can wonder how Rivian discovers these locations for these events? It's definitely a bit out there, at an apparently inactive, or rarely used private airport. They are utilizing an airplane hangar. There were three trucks on display (no SUV's). One with the Ocean Forest interior, the rest in black. No Forest Edge (green) interiors.

One had the camp kitchen. Two had tents on the back. One Blue, one Forest Green and I think one Black. There were at least another 6 or 7 trucks being used for the demo drives. Don't recall seeing a white, yellow, silver or red truck. Most of the remaining colors were represented.

Reservations can be made to go the event and see all that's there on Rivian's website without an invitation. However, demo drives are only available to those who received an invitation from Rivian. So, don't show up expecting to drive or ride in one if you didn't receive an invitation. They will say no (and did to several people).

The demo drive was about 12-15 minutes. A quick get to know it lap around a portion of the runway. Then a bit of off-roading on some mild hills with water ruts in the middle to climb in and out of. No rocks. There were direction signs posted throughout the route with what speed they wanted you to go at each spot. Per Rivian, other than trimming a few bushes, the trail (intended for horses and hikers) was as they found it. The trail was roughly a mile long. Then you pull back on to the runway for a 0-60 run, down to 40 mph, punch it again, back up to 60 mph. Then a demonstration of the Adaptive Cruise Control system, showing that it will come to a stop for a parked vehicle in your path. No street or highway driving to demonstrate the Lane Keep Assist capability. The Rivian rep indicated it has what equates to AP1 from Tesla. It does however, have a display closer to AP2 of Tesla in that it shows vehicles, people and cones on the driver screen behind the wheel. Per the rep, with the current hardware, it will not be capable of Full Self Driving as Tesla's supposedly are.

I've owned several Model S Tesla's, including one Model 3. For my personal tastes, hated the Model 3. Much preferred the far more solid feel of a Model S and the air suspension, especially on the Raven version, which is just incredible in comparison to the stiff suspension of the Model 3. Some prefer the stiffer, sportier ride and smaller size of the 3/Y. I prefer the bigger, more solid, quieter and milder ride quality of an S/X.

Clearly, Rivian has followed in many of Tesla's footsteps. Somethings they've done better. Some things, not quite as good.

1. Overall Quality: The quality, solidity and feel of the vehicle is certainly more Model S like than it is Model 3 like (Yay!). It is a very solid feeling vehicle. Feels higher class and worthy of a $70,000 price tag. The Model 3 by comparison, certainly feels much cheaper. So, was very happy to drive it and see that it measures up closer to a Model S or X than a Model 3 or Y.

2. UI interface: As expected, is somewhat similar to Tesla. Just a lot less of it. To be expected, Tesla has had 10 years and the menu's go on and on and on. Rivian has several menus, but probably with about 25% of the menu options. Some have complained that the user interface was glitchy and a little slow, including map pinching. I didn't notice any issues personally. What was there, responded well and quickly enough that I had no complaints.

2a: Screen Controls: Like Tesla, just about EVERYTHING is controlled through the screen. This was one of my primary complaints about the Model 3 over the Model S. I'm personally one that would prefer at least a couple of high-use buttons that you don't have be distracted to find via on-screen menus. To its credit, while the Model 3 just has two scroll wheels, the Rivian has two buttons on each side of the scroll wheels that allow for a LITTLE more user friendliness. At least it still has a blinker stalk, shifter stalk and normal horn button. Tesla doubled down on the revised Model S as compared to a Model 3 and for me, is all a deal killer to assure that my current S is my last. While not a fan of having to go to the screen for everything, at least they didn't go as far as Tesla did with the new Model S and I can probably live with it thanks to the blinker / shifter stalks, horn and two extra control buttons on the wheel.

3. Cameras: Several have claimed that the camera resolution is below par. The screen is set up to show three views in each direction. One large view from the center of the vehicle outward (front or rear) and then two small side views in which the tires are visible to see what the tires are going to run over or run into. The two small side views were crystal clear with good resolution. The larger center view wasn't the best resolution by any means (like trying to increase a video size to full screen that is a low quality video, distorts as you make it larger, yet is clear if smaller). I certainly agree with the others. But, unless you're trying to spot a flea on the back of your dog, not sure there's really a need for more resolution? If the lower resolutions contribute to lower vehicle cost, I have no problem with them. For what they're purpose is, they work just fine.

4. Hill-Hold: Will call out Doug DeMuro here. He posted a video about the off road capability and emphasized two of his complaints about the vehicle. I can confirm, both were user error rather than features lacking from the truck. He complained that it does not have "hill hold". In Rock Crawl Mode, it does default to "off", but can be turned on. It is otherwise defaulted to "on" in other drive modes.

5. Off-Road Braking: Again, calling out Doug DeMuro as his other complaint was that you have to ride the brakes all the way down a hill. He may be right if you want to go less than 3 MPH. Which, in some cases that may be necessary depending on the terrain. But, the Rivian, when in Rock Crawl Drive Mode, keeps the speed to 3-4 MPH down a steep grade without touching the brake pedal. DeMuro's worry was that you would overheat the brakes. Not sure that will be an issue being that it does all the work down to 3-4 MPH.

6. Ride Quality: Excellent. The air suspension was exceptional. Minimal body roll when swerving back and forth on pavement. The ride was exceptionally smooth through the off-roading portion of the drive. I truly appreciate the adjustable air suspension and should be a big advantage over the F-150.

7. Regenerative Braking: Amazing! Multiple modes, available. The highest mode is very aggressive at lower speeds and will quickly bring the vehicle to a stop. The middle option was still relatively strong and slightly more than a Tesla. I like having more regen available. Far more than either Tesla has. I'd rather it have more, as it does, and just modulate the throttle accordingly. At higher-speeds, it is still stronger than Tesla's regen, but not nearly as aggressive as it as lower speeds. I liked it. With three settings, most can probably find a happy place with it if you're not a fan of aggressive regen. Of course, it can be turned off too.

8. Size: Reviews clearly state that it's more of a mid-size truck and it is. The videos and photos however, do make it appear larger than it is in many areas. It's not a small vehicle by any means, but the bed is definitely quite short and the 4 1/2 foot length is more obvious in person. It's certainly a small bed.

8a. Size: It's smaller size is felt in the rear seat room. The front seats have plenty of room. While there is plenty of room for an adult in the rear seats, the space between the front seatback and the front of the rear seat is definitely limited. Smaller than a Model S or Model 3 and certainly smaller than a crew cab F-150. I expected the bed to be small but expected it to be made up with more rear seat room. While not tiny, was certainly smaller than it appeared to be when seeing it in person. Possibly the price for having the gear tunnel?

8b. Size/Storage: As reviews note, there is no glove box. The little storage spaces under the front seats appear bigger in the videos. They are very small spaces, good for some pens and coins, but not much else. The center storage is very deep, but fairly narrow in terms of length and width. Will be able to stack quite a bit in there, but it is smaller than expected.

8c. Gear Tunnel: Same theme, definitely is smaller in person than it appears in the videos / photos. A two duffle bags pretty much fills it up in terms of width. Could stack another couple of duffle bags on top, but not much more. The pass-thru opening from the rear seat to the gear tunnel however, was much larger than I expected.

8d. Frunk. Probably about as it appears in videos. If anything, a little larger. It's a very good sized frunk, especially when utilizing the lower space below the first floor storage flap. Much deeper than I expected.

8e. Spare Tire Space. Without a spare tire in there, that space is pretty big. Certainly felt bigger than expected.

9. Cup Holders. I expected more a Tesla like rear seat cup holders, but in the front on the Rivian as it is a pop-out cup holder. In the rear of the tesla, it is a fairly flimsy thing that pops out of the console. Rivian's however, is quite impressive for a pop-out cup older. Very solid, thick materials and reflects the notably higher build quality.

10. Interior build quality: While it was designed with a minimalist approach, the quality of the interior materials is certainly high-end in terms of the wood, surfaces, seats and plastics. Again, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Feels richer than the Tesla Model S and far superior a Model 3/Y. The only thing a little questionable were the pull out door pockets and seat back pockets. They're held in by tie-down like straps and felt a little flimsy. Not sure how well those will hold up over time.

11. Fingerprints: If you're one that hates fingerprints on the paint, plan on carrying a microfiber towel with you. while everything can be opened without finger prints, the doors, gear tunnel doors and tailgate will definitely require leaving fingerprints as they all must be closed manually by touching painted surfaces.

12. Tailgate: You can tell it was designed to be an automatic up and down tailgate. Rivian reversed course and removed the auto-up feature. Problem is, unlike any other tailgate that I've closed, the top of the tail gate is slanted and there is really nothing to grab onto when closing the tail gate. It's a slated surface, going away from you, so requires getting your hand well under it to get enough leverage on it to more, push it up than pull it up. When it’s wet (rain), will probably be a little more difficult. Most trucks, have a squared edge with a bit of lip on the end to hook onto to make closing easier. Not a huge deal, but certainly a bit awkward by comparison. I am disappointed they didn't keep the auto-up feature as it was one of the added bonus features it would have had over any other truck.

13. Gear tunnel doors: There is no "shock" control toward the bottom end. They are just door hinges, thus do not land softly into their fully open position. They are sturdy when open, but the landing of the doors was a bit rough. Fairly minor, just means you'll likely want to hold them all the way down rather than just pop them open and let them drop into position. Could create excess wear over time.

14. Spare tire cover. Given, the display vehicles have been used a lot to demonstrate these features, but that's more of an example of how these will fare over time and use. The cover was quite difficult to close and didn't sit flush with bed anymore. Clearly from excessive use.

15. Charge port cover: Fit and finish was a bit off. Assuming the display vehicle had been opened and closed thousands of times, but the door was recessed as compared to the bodywork. Something likely due to heavy use and could be an indicator of how it will hold up over time and use.

16. Interior Color of Ocean Coast: It's not bright white like Tesla's white interior is. It has a very light bluish/grey tint to it. It's Vegan leather and supposedly will now show the common cracking marks that quickly become visible with most genuine leather materials. For a display vehicle, there was no evidence of denim bleed on the seats that might be expected on a high-use vehicle. That appears to be a positive sign for anyone worried about the lighter interior getting dirty over time. "appears" to have held up well so far. I was going to get black just to avoid it getting dirty, but seeing this one might have convinced me otherwise. Would like to have seen the Forest Green. Supposedly it has a bit of grey in it as well, so isn't a true green, but does have a greenish tint to it.

17. Acceleration: Having owned the Performance versions of the Tesla, I have a direct comparison. While it supposedly does 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, it's not the same shock acceleration you get in a Tesla. It's gentler off the line, but pulls harder all the way down, whereas prior Tesla's tapered off after 40 MPH. (The new Tesla at 1.99 seconds pulls all the way now). But, for a TRUCK with 20" all-terrain tires, it is very quick. It has more power than those particular tires can handle as it was slipping the tires off the line, corrected by its traction control.

18. 22 inch versus 20 inch Wheels: Being that I don't plan on off-roading too often, I had planned on the 22" wheels with sportier street tires, which will improve 0-60 MPH times as they have better on-road traction. But, after seeing it in person, the 20" wheels look SO MUCH BETTER. I would generally leave this off the list as it's a "personal opinion and preference", but, was really surprised at how much better the 20" wheels naturally fit this vehicle. The 22" looked too big for the size of vehicle and out of place. Of all vehicles they had there, all but one had the 20's.

My Personal Summary Conclusion: Overall build and ride quality exceeded expectations. A very solid, higher-end vehicle overall. The tailgate is very sturdy. The front hood is also solid. But, some of the side doors, charge port doors, storage pockets and storage bay doors are on the cheaper side. Plan ahead and be gentle with these from the start and they'll hold up better over time, but are items that will otherwise show their wear from use sooner than the rest of the vehicle. And, size. Overall, the totality of the vehicle size felt about as it appeared to be in videos/photos, however, the interior, bed, gear tunnel and interior storage pockets were a bit smaller in person than expected. On the flip side, the frunk and spare tire spaces were larger than expected.

This is a truck, Tesla's are different vehicles with a different purpose. I compare the two based on firsthand knowledge of both and they both rank as the top EV's of their vehicle class/type. If you're one that truly loves all the party tricks Tesla has to offer, the Rivian will feel like a step back in time to the early versions of Tesla. As expected, it's not nearly as advanced. Technology changes so quickly these days. Rivian followed a model from Tesla from years ago. As a new company, has taken time to get to production. Some can be improved over time with software updates. But, if the tech is one of the primary features you're seeking, it is well behind a Tesla in that department. But, certainly not bad if just viewing it as a standalone vehicle and not comparing it to anything else.

If you want a "work truck", the Rivian is quite small by comparison. It was not designed to be a work truck and absolutely is not one. Just like Tesla isn't a "luxury" car. But, if you're buying a truck simply because you like the look of a truck, yet wish you had the ride quality of a higher-end vehicle, then the Rivian certainly fits the bill. It fits for those looking for a "statement" type of vehicle. Unique and cool, but as its own vehicle, not so much by comparison to something else. If you want an off-road vehicle and want to be kind to the planet, the Rivian certainly fits the bill.

Just like Tesla is commonly compared to Mercedes, BMW, Audi because its price point is competitive, it is not at all a "luxury" vehicle, but is a high quality technological marvel, the Rivian is its own vehicle too. If you would consider a Land Rover / Range Rover, the Rivian probably compares similarly to that as the Tesla does to a Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Not as luxurious, but trades that off with its added quirks and features and true off-road capability.

Range on the vehicle I drove, showed 245 miles at 90%. But, unlike Tesla's range rating being based only on best case scenario, Rivian's adjust to your driving style. So, for a vehicle that's been off-roading and doing full throttle 0-60 runs, 245 miles at 90% is not a bad "real world" figure.

For me, I'm more about the style of having a truck than the need for having a truck "statement vehicle". The Rivian fits well. It's a good size for every day driving. I'm not using it as a work truck, thus will suit me just fine. The only question for me is, when I can get it? Seeing it in person didn't offer too many surprises over what I already knew and certainly no deal breakers. It did pleasantly reassure me that its ride and quality are superior to just about any other "truck" on the planet.
well said. And thank you for such a detailed and fair review.
 

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Nice review, very helpful and insightful.

WRT the spare tire cover, its a design flaw, not an indication of wear/usage. Other folks have noted how you can't easily close it from the driver side where the lever to open the cover is located. It appears you actually need to use two hands and make sure there's firm pressure on both sides of the cover in order for it to close properly. This will make it difficult for anyone who is on the shorter side since the tailgate extends out further due to the gooseneck design. Unfortunately, likely a ripple effect of removing the 180 degree opening tailgate they originally intended. If they kept that design, then it would be easy to reach over to close the spare tire cover. I wouldn't be surprised to see that design changed in future R1Ts

Since many have commented on the camera quality, I think it is a big deal for a lot of people (me included). I own several cars with cameras and I do think it makes a difference. You use it just about every time you drive, when you back up in particular. When the quality is poor it makes it difficult to use, especially at night. For a high tech vehicle like the Rivian, with a lot of cameras intended for both driver assisted and off-road features, its going to be used a lot. So its disappointing if it is indeed cheaper h/w. Let's hope its more a s/w setting they will improve over time. I think someone noted that it did appear to already improve from what they saw from Breckenridge media day. WRT to the side camera quality looking better than front, my guess would be the side views were smaller on the screen than the front (at least thats what I've seen in other reviews), which means it looks better because its resolution is smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@kizamybute'
Great review and details! Good that it’s based on your prior ownerships of Teslas as comparisons. Couple of questions since I’ll be doing the drive event today.

Do they allow video devices like GoPro or the like while in the truck? Secondly, since I do lots of off-roading and intend to use the truck as such, do they let you control the modes while on dirt?
The drive goes fairly quick and is pretty particularly planned out in what they want to show you. Specific speeds posted throughout. He did demonstrate briefly a couple of drive mode changes, but those were part of the preset script they were clearly following. I'm sure you could ask for brief demonstration, but they certainly won't be lengthy or in too much detail.

As far as go pro's. I believe they did allow some in Sonoma. If you set it up quickly. It's a fairly quick process as they're running them back to back, with sanitizing between each drive. They are very particular about having two hands on the wheel at all times. If you bring a passenger, I'm sure he/she could do the filming for you without any objection. At least based on past events so far. But I also read where they gave on person some trouble too. Might be better if you have a passenger to just do without asking, to prevent them from saying no.

On the drive itself, it was a fairly tight script. Any questions I had regarding UI and such, they asked me to explore that through the demo units that were parked in the view areas as they weren't going over all of that during the short drive.
 

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A terrific and helpful review. Thank you, Kizamybute.

It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I definitely wish Rivian would upgrade the cameras (based on reviews). I assume Rivian has their reasons. But hopefully Rivian hears the complaints and acts quickly.

Kizamybute, Doug DeMuro supposedly said that the Rivian doesn't give individual tire pressures for the TPMS system, but others have pointed out the owner's manual says individual pressures are reported. Any chance you happened to notice tire pressure values on the screen?

Also, I checked out a couple R1Ts at Rivian's Venice hub. One thing I noticed was the covers for the storage on the cargo tunnel doors (i.e., where the first aid kit is stashed) were awkward/difficult to close. Felt like the cheapest part on the vehicle. Did you experience this? Am I just inept?

Finally, the lack of a glove box kind of annoyed me. I guess we're supposed to stash registration, insurance, service receipts, etc., in the center console. A minor complaint, to be sure.

Compared to Teslas, the R1T feels like a better deal, and I can't wait to receive mine... probably late next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A terrific and helpful review. Thank you, Kizamybute.

It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I definitely wish Rivian would upgrade the cameras (based on reviews). I assume Rivian has their reasons. But hopefully Rivian hears the complaints and acts quickly.

Kizamybute, Doug DeMuro supposedly said that the Rivian doesn't give individual tire pressures for the TPMS system, but others have pointed out the owner's manual says individual pressures are reported. Any chance you happened to notice tire pressure values on the screen?

Also, I checked out a couple R1Ts at Rivian's Venice hub. One thing I noticed was the covers for the storage on the cargo tunnel doors (i.e., where the first aid kit is stashed) were awkward/difficult to close. Felt like the cheapest part on the vehicle. Did you experience this? Am I just inept?

Finally, the lack of a glove box kind of annoyed me. I guess we're supposed to stash registration, insurance, service receipts, etc., in the center console. A minor complaint, to be sure.

Compared to Teslas, the R1T feels like a better deal, and I can't wait to receive mine... probably late next year.
I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to the importance of the camera view. Being that most cars have 10" or smaller screens, I'm appreciative just of having the added size. But apparently, it's more important to most others than it is myself.

I agree on the gear tunnel doors. The doors themselves are quite solid and sturdy when down. I just expected more a of a "soft opening". My thought on the difficulty with closing is similar to any other smaller door that requires a water tight seal. With the main passenger doors, you have the large size and weight to get them closed, but even some passenger doors have to be slammed harder than others. These smaller doors don't have the same leverage, thus require more effort. In that respect, I don't think it's a Rivian issue, just a product of the door size and necessity to be water tight. I think of RV storage doors which often have to be slammed multiple times to get them closed. Pushing through the seal takes that extra effort.

I left the tire pressure sensor issue off my list above as I wasn't able to confirm or deny it myself. In my search through the menus, I didn't find it. Other's have said it's in the manual, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee it's in the car.....yet. With Tesla, the early models didn't have them either, but it was added via software updates later. Guessing the same could be true of the Rivian. Didn't want to form an unverified opinion on it until that can be confirmed. It certainly "should" have them for this level of a vehicle and certainly would be far more of a complaint of mine than the camera view if it doesn't.

Regarding the lack of a glove box, I expected the under seat storage of the front seats to be an adequate replacement, but was surprised at how small they were. Not large enough to put paperwork in there. The center console is limited by their choice to include the pull-out blue-tooth speaker instead. So, that will be another personal preference. Personally, I'd rather have it as storage space as I'll likely never use the speaker outside of the truck. But, it's a feature I'm sure quite a few will appreciate. Back to the give and take aspect. The center storage as it is, will fill up quickly and will requiring digging through it to find things at the bottom. They chose to leave the footwell open, as Tesla did with its early cars. But, clearly the majority wanted the added enclosed storage space. Such open space is a bit more common in a truck than a sedan, so Rivian may not change it as Tesla did. But, assuming Rivian succeeds, I'm sure someone will make an aftermarket console to fit that space. I purchased one for each of my first two Tesla's and would certainly do so for the Rivian as soon as one comes available. Or maybe, Rivian will offer one themselves as an accessory option, as Tesla did, before making it a permanent feature in all cars.

The frunk is GREAT. Unlike the Tesla, which is a pain in the rear to close, using extreme care to not bend the aluminum, I so rarely ever use it. With the Rivian, Ford or Hummer, they've made them auto open/close and more trunk-like, so I'm sure they'll get a lot of use. The gear tunnel, at first glance, appeared to be a good added feature and still will have added appeal to many as additional water tight space. But, its access and relatively narrow space, leans more toward the Tesla frunk in being more difficult to use in daily use. Having seen the reduced rear seat space, for me personally, with the frunk being so great, I personally think I would have rather them been able to move the rear seats back and sacrifice the gear tunnel. Keeping in mind that the spare tire spot is also water tight. But it, like a Tesla Frunk, is not the simplest to operate on an everyday basis. Awkward position with the tailgate down. Not the easiest to close. The frunk will be my daily use location to haul things (groceries, etc). The gear tunnel and spare tire spots will likely only get used on longer trips when I take more stuff, for me personally.

As with my feeling about the tailgate, would have loved to see auto open and close capability for the tailgate and gear tunnel doors. Clearly, would add cost. But those too would be more important to me than the camera view.
 

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I've watched probably hundreds of videos on the Rivian, including most of the reviews, etc. So, I knew just about everything there was to know about the vehicle. Will just discuss the things I actually learned that I either, didn't know and learned from seeing it in person, or that appeared different in person than in the photos......

One can wonder how Rivian discovers these locations for these events? It's definitely a bit out there, at an apparently inactive, or rarely used private airport. They are utilizing an airplane hangar. There were three trucks on display (no SUV's). One with the Ocean Forest interior, the rest in black. No Forest Edge (green) interiors.

One had the camp kitchen. Two had tents on the back. One Blue, one Forest Green and I think one Black. There were at least another 6 or 7 trucks being used for the demo drives. Don't recall seeing a white, yellow, silver or red truck. Most of the remaining colors were represented.

Reservations can be made to go the event and see all that's there on Rivian's website without an invitation. However, demo drives are only available to those who received an invitation from Rivian. So, don't show up expecting to drive or ride in one if you didn't receive an invitation. They will say no (and did to several people).

The demo drive was about 12-15 minutes. A quick get to know it lap around a portion of the runway. Then a bit of off-roading on some mild hills with water ruts in the middle to climb in and out of. No rocks. There were direction signs posted throughout the route with what speed they wanted you to go at each spot. Per Rivian, other than trimming a few bushes, the trail (intended for horses and hikers) was as they found it. The trail was roughly a mile long. Then you pull back on to the runway for a 0-60 run, down to 40 mph, punch it again, back up to 60 mph. Then a demonstration of the Adaptive Cruise Control system, showing that it will come to a stop for a parked vehicle in your path. No street or highway driving to demonstrate the Lane Keep Assist capability. The Rivian rep indicated it has what equates to AP1 from Tesla. It does however, have a display closer to AP2 of Tesla in that it shows vehicles, people and cones on the driver screen behind the wheel. Per the rep, with the current hardware, it will not be capable of Full Self Driving as Tesla's supposedly are.

I've owned several Model S Tesla's, including one Model 3. For my personal tastes, hated the Model 3. Much preferred the far more solid feel of a Model S and the air suspension, especially on the Raven version, which is just incredible in comparison to the stiff suspension of the Model 3. Some prefer the stiffer, sportier ride and smaller size of the 3/Y. I prefer the bigger, more solid, quieter and milder ride quality of an S/X.

Clearly, Rivian has followed in many of Tesla's footsteps. Somethings they've done better. Some things, not quite as good.

1. Overall Quality: The quality, solidity and feel of the vehicle is certainly more Model S like than it is Model 3 like (Yay!). It is a very solid feeling vehicle. Feels higher class and worthy of a $70,000 price tag. The Model 3 by comparison, certainly feels much cheaper. So, was very happy to drive it and see that it measures up closer to a Model S or X than a Model 3 or Y.

2. UI interface: As expected, is somewhat similar to Tesla. Just a lot less of it. To be expected, Tesla has had 10 years and the menu's go on and on and on. Rivian has several menus, but probably with about 25% of the menu options. Some have complained that the user interface was glitchy and a little slow, including map pinching. I didn't notice any issues personally. What was there, responded well and quickly enough that I had no complaints.

2a: Screen Controls: Like Tesla, just about EVERYTHING is controlled through the screen. This was one of my primary complaints about the Model 3 over the Model S. I'm personally one that would prefer at least a couple of high-use buttons that you don't have be distracted to find via on-screen menus. To its credit, while the Model 3 just has two scroll wheels, the Rivian has two buttons on each side of the scroll wheels that allow for a LITTLE more user friendliness. At least it still has a blinker stalk, shifter stalk and normal horn button. Tesla doubled down on the revised Model S as compared to a Model 3 and for me, is all a deal killer to assure that my current S is my last. While not a fan of having to go to the screen for everything, at least they didn't go as far as Tesla did with the new Model S and I can probably live with it thanks to the blinker / shifter stalks, horn and two extra control buttons on the wheel.

3. Cameras: Several have claimed that the camera resolution is below par. The screen is set up to show three views in each direction. One large view from the center of the vehicle outward (front or rear) and then two small side views in which the tires are visible to see what the tires are going to run over or run into. The two small side views were crystal clear with good resolution. The larger center view wasn't the best resolution by any means (like trying to increase a video size to full screen that is a low quality video, distorts as you make it larger, yet is clear if smaller). I certainly agree with the others. But, unless you're trying to spot a flea on the back of your dog, not sure there's really a need for more resolution? If the lower resolutions contribute to lower vehicle cost, I have no problem with them. For what they're purpose is, they work just fine.

4. Hill-Hold: Will call out Doug DeMuro here. He posted a video about the off road capability and emphasized two of his complaints about the vehicle. I can confirm, both were user error rather than features lacking from the truck. He complained that it does not have "hill hold". In Rock Crawl Mode, it does default to "off", but can be turned on. It is otherwise defaulted to "on" in other drive modes.

5. Off-Road Braking: Again, calling out Doug DeMuro as his other complaint was that you have to ride the brakes all the way down a hill. He may be right if you want to go less than 3 MPH. Which, in some cases that may be necessary depending on the terrain. But, the Rivian, when in Rock Crawl Drive Mode, keeps the speed to 3-4 MPH down a steep grade without touching the brake pedal. DeMuro's worry was that you would overheat the brakes. Not sure that will be an issue being that it does all the work down to 3-4 MPH.

6. Ride Quality: Excellent. The air suspension was exceptional. Minimal body roll when swerving back and forth on pavement. The ride was exceptionally smooth through the off-roading portion of the drive. I truly appreciate the adjustable air suspension and should be a big advantage over the F-150.

7. Regenerative Braking: Amazing! Multiple modes, available. The highest mode is very aggressive at lower speeds and will quickly bring the vehicle to a stop. The middle option was still relatively strong and slightly more than a Tesla. I like having more regen available. Far more than either Tesla has. I'd rather it have more, as it does, and just modulate the throttle accordingly. At higher-speeds, it is still stronger than Tesla's regen, but not nearly as aggressive as it as lower speeds. I liked it. With three settings, most can probably find a happy place with it if you're not a fan of aggressive regen. Of course, it can be turned off too.

8. Size: Reviews clearly state that it's more of a mid-size truck and it is. The videos and photos however, do make it appear larger than it is in many areas. It's not a small vehicle by any means, but the bed is definitely quite short and the 4 1/2 foot length is more obvious in person. It's certainly a small bed.

8a. Size: It's smaller size is felt in the rear seat room. The front seats have plenty of room. While there is plenty of room for an adult in the rear seats, the space between the front seatback and the front of the rear seat is definitely limited. Smaller than a Model S or Model 3 and certainly smaller than a crew cab F-150. I expected the bed to be small but expected it to be made up with more rear seat room. While not tiny, was certainly smaller than it appeared to be when seeing it in person. Possibly the price for having the gear tunnel?

8b. Size/Storage: As reviews note, there is no glove box. The little storage spaces under the front seats appear bigger in the videos. They are very small spaces, good for some pens and coins, but not much else. The center storage is very deep, but fairly narrow in terms of length and width. Will be able to stack quite a bit in there, but it is smaller than expected.

8c. Gear Tunnel: Same theme, definitely is smaller in person than it appears in the videos / photos. A two duffle bags pretty much fills it up in terms of width. Could stack another couple of duffle bags on top, but not much more. The pass-thru opening from the rear seat to the gear tunnel however, was much larger than I expected.

8d. Frunk. Probably about as it appears in videos. If anything, a little larger. It's a very good sized frunk, especially when utilizing the lower space below the first floor storage flap. Much deeper than I expected.

8e. Spare Tire Space. Without a spare tire in there, that space is pretty big. Certainly felt bigger than expected.

9. Cup Holders. I expected more a Tesla like rear seat cup holders, but in the front on the Rivian as it is a pop-out cup holder. In the rear of the tesla, it is a fairly flimsy thing that pops out of the console. Rivian's however, is quite impressive for a pop-out cup older. Very solid, thick materials and reflects the notably higher build quality.

10. Interior build quality: While it was designed with a minimalist approach, the quality of the interior materials is certainly high-end in terms of the wood, surfaces, seats and plastics. Again, worthy of a $70,000 vehicle. Feels richer than the Tesla Model S and far superior a Model 3/Y. The only thing a little questionable were the pull out door pockets and seat back pockets. They're held in by tie-down like straps and felt a little flimsy. Not sure how well those will hold up over time.

11. Fingerprints: If you're one that hates fingerprints on the paint, plan on carrying a microfiber towel with you. while everything can be opened without finger prints, the doors, gear tunnel doors and tailgate will definitely require leaving fingerprints as they all must be closed manually by touching painted surfaces.

12. Tailgate: You can tell it was designed to be an automatic up and down tailgate. Rivian reversed course and removed the auto-up feature. Problem is, unlike any other tailgate that I've closed, the top of the tail gate is slanted and there is really nothing to grab onto when closing the tail gate. It's a slated surface, going away from you, so requires getting your hand well under it to get enough leverage on it to more, push it up than pull it up. When it’s wet (rain), will probably be a little more difficult. Most trucks, have a squared edge with a bit of lip on the end to hook onto to make closing easier. Not a huge deal, but certainly a bit awkward by comparison. I am disappointed they didn't keep the auto-up feature as it was one of the added bonus features it would have had over any other truck.

13. Gear tunnel doors: There is no "shock" control toward the bottom end. They are just door hinges, thus do not land softly into their fully open position. They are sturdy when open, but the landing of the doors was a bit rough. Fairly minor, just means you'll likely want to hold them all the way down rather than just pop them open and let them drop into position. Could create excess wear over time.

14. Spare tire cover. Given, the display vehicles have been used a lot to demonstrate these features, but that's more of an example of how these will fare over time and use. The cover was quite difficult to close and didn't sit flush with bed anymore. Clearly from excessive use.

15. Charge port cover: Fit and finish was a bit off. Assuming the display vehicle had been opened and closed thousands of times, but the door was recessed as compared to the bodywork. Something likely due to heavy use and could be an indicator of how it will hold up over time and use.

16. Interior Color of Ocean Coast: It's not bright white like Tesla's white interior is. It has a very light bluish/grey tint to it. It's Vegan leather and supposedly will now show the common cracking marks that quickly become visible with most genuine leather materials. For a display vehicle, there was no evidence of denim bleed on the seats that might be expected on a high-use vehicle. That appears to be a positive sign for anyone worried about the lighter interior getting dirty over time. "appears" to have held up well so far. I was going to get black just to avoid it getting dirty, but seeing this one might have convinced me otherwise. Would like to have seen the Forest Green. Supposedly it has a bit of grey in it as well, so isn't a true green, but does have a greenish tint to it.

17. Acceleration: Having owned the Performance versions of the Tesla, I have a direct comparison. While it supposedly does 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, it's not the same shock acceleration you get in a Tesla. It's gentler off the line, but pulls harder all the way down, whereas prior Tesla's tapered off after 40 MPH. (The new Tesla at 1.99 seconds pulls all the way now). But, for a TRUCK with 20" all-terrain tires, it is very quick. It has more power than those particular tires can handle as it was slipping the tires off the line, corrected by its traction control.

18. 22 inch versus 20 inch Wheels: Being that I don't plan on off-roading too often, I had planned on the 22" wheels with sportier street tires, which will improve 0-60 MPH times as they have better on-road traction. But, after seeing it in person, the 20" wheels look SO MUCH BETTER. I would generally leave this off the list as it's a "personal opinion and preference", but, was really surprised at how much better the 20" wheels naturally fit this vehicle. The 22" looked too big for the size of vehicle and out of place. Of all vehicles they had there, all but one had the 20's.

My Personal Summary Conclusion: Overall build and ride quality exceeded expectations. A very solid, higher-end vehicle overall. The tailgate is very sturdy. The front hood is also solid. But, some of the side doors, charge port doors, storage pockets and storage bay doors are on the cheaper side. Plan ahead and be gentle with these from the start and they'll hold up better over time, but are items that will otherwise show their wear from use sooner than the rest of the vehicle. And, size. Overall, the totality of the vehicle size felt about as it appeared to be in videos/photos, however, the interior, bed, gear tunnel and interior storage pockets were a bit smaller in person than expected. On the flip side, the frunk and spare tire spaces were larger than expected.

This is a truck, Tesla's are different vehicles with a different purpose. I compare the two based on firsthand knowledge of both and they both rank as the top EV's of their vehicle class/type. If you're one that truly loves all the party tricks Tesla has to offer, the Rivian will feel like a step back in time to the early versions of Tesla. As expected, it's not nearly as advanced. Technology changes so quickly these days. Rivian followed a model from Tesla from years ago. As a new company, has taken time to get to production. Some can be improved over time with software updates. But, if the tech is one of the primary features you're seeking, it is well behind a Tesla in that department. But, certainly not bad if just viewing it as a standalone vehicle and not comparing it to anything else.

If you want a "work truck", the Rivian is quite small by comparison. It was not designed to be a work truck and absolutely is not one. Just like Tesla isn't a "luxury" car. But, if you're buying a truck simply because you like the look of a truck, yet wish you had the ride quality of a higher-end vehicle, then the Rivian certainly fits the bill. It fits for those looking for a "statement" type of vehicle. Unique and cool, but as its own vehicle, not so much by comparison to something else. If you want an off-road vehicle and want to be kind to the planet, the Rivian certainly fits the bill.

Just like Tesla is commonly compared to Mercedes, BMW, Audi because its price point is competitive, it is not at all a "luxury" vehicle, but is a high quality technological marvel, the Rivian is its own vehicle too. If you would consider a Land Rover / Range Rover, the Rivian probably compares similarly to that as the Tesla does to a Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Not as luxurious, but trades that off with its added quirks and features and true off-road capability.

Range on the vehicle I drove, showed 245 miles at 90%. But, unlike Tesla's range rating being based only on best case scenario, Rivian's adjust to your driving style. So, for a vehicle that's been off-roading and doing full throttle 0-60 runs, 245 miles at 90% is not a bad "real world" figure.

For me, I'm more about the style of having a truck than the need for having a truck "statement vehicle". The Rivian fits well. It's a good size for every day driving. I'm not using it as a work truck, thus will suit me just fine. The only question for me is, when I can get it? Seeing it in person didn't offer too many surprises over what I already knew and certainly no deal breakers. It did pleasantly reassure me that its ride and quality are superior to just about any other "truck" on the planet.
Thank you for the wonderful review!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Great review @kizamybute'! Did you take any photos/videos?

Welcome to the forum @kdawg231 & @OngsterA, which model and spec did you guys order?
Unfortunately, the person I had to with me wasn't able to make it at the last minute, so did not take photos. But on the "other" Rivian forum, someone did post a video of the entire course.
 

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The drive goes fairly quick and is pretty particularly planned out in what they want to show you. Specific speeds posted throughout. He did demonstrate briefly a couple of drive mode changes, but those were part of the preset script they were clearly following. I'm sure you could ask for brief demonstration, but they certainly won't be lengthy or in too much detail.

As far as go pro's. I believe they did allow some in Sonoma. If you set it up quickly. It's a fairly quick process as they're running them back to back, with sanitizing between each drive. They are very particular about having two hands on the wheel at all times. If you bring a passenger, I'm sure he/she could do the filming for you without any objection. At least based on past events so far. But I also read where they gave on person some trouble too. Might be better if you have a passenger to just do without asking, to prevent them from saying no.

On the drive itself, it was a fairly tight script. Any questions I had regarding UI and such, they asked me to explore that through the demo units that were parked in the view areas as they weren't going over all of that during the short drive.
Thanks, I completed the drive and have posted pics and couple of clips of the dirt sections on Rivian FB groups. I used my mini cam, DJI Action, attached to my cap, worked great! Anyway, since I told them my use is primarily for off-road and trips, the guide let me take diff lines thru the rutty sections, dipping into them and feeling the truck gaining traction to forge ahead, same with the frame twister area. Also wanted to feel the hill descent, the R1T was able to stop on a steep downslope w/o brakes, impressive at Standard regen! This truck makes off-roading easy. Also very helpful and pleasant attendant and the overall staff onsite.

I also complained about the ‘missing’ glovebox but I’m sure the aftermarket will come up with something for the under console speaker hole.

Great easy to mount (magnet) mini cam! Very handy
Camera lens Cameras & optics Reflex camera Camera accessory Fedora
 

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Great review @kizamybute'! Did you take any photos/videos?

Welcome to the forum @kdawg231 & @OngsterA, which model and spec did you guys order?
Thanks! I ordered the Adventure with offroad package, Forest green w Forest Edge, 20” AT tires, camp kitchen. Another thing I wanted to confirm was how ‘green’ the Edge interior is. Was glad it’s a more subdued green/gray tone, not the ‘70s green. I’m happy.
 
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