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So it happened. The day arrived for the R1S demo drive. I have been on pre-order list for more than a year. I had originally ordered an R1T and switched to R1S midway so I was unsure if my demo drive will come to fruition, but it did. My demo drive was in South San Francisco.


Needless to say, we arrived way ahead of schedule. The service centre was well staffed. The waiting area was on point with Rivian’s explore sustainably message with several books and artwork pieces that focused on outdoors. While I didn’t bring kids, I would say that small kids esp toddlers would find several interesting things to keep themselves busy.

First looks:

Our guide arrived on time, and took us right to the demo car. My first impression was the car is huge. All three dimensions - length, width and height. For the first ten minutes, we were just exploring the car inside and outside.

Trunks & Charging:

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The back trunk has a big opening. It has two gates. The top section is automatic and the bottom one is manual. Even with all 3 seats up, there is quite a bit of room in the back for things like shopping bags, tote bags, etc. Under the cover, there is a deeper space to hold extra tires or just keep it empty for things

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I liked the compressor in the back that allows you to inflate anything. It comes with soft buttons to start, stop and continue. Also there is an outlet and buttons to collapse the middle row seat at the back (nifty)

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By now, you’ll knowing charging is in the front. The port opens and closes with the push of a button. Our guide informed us that Rivian is able to do roughly 280+ miles on road tires and a bit lesser when using all-terrain tires. I was surprised to learn that there were several 100+ KW DC charging stations around me that charge up to 140 miles in 20 mins.

The frunk is huge. It is definitely bigger than a Tesla, and fully automatic.

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The seats were comfortable. Not super luxurious but not uncomfortable either. I was most excited to find out how would third row seats row for me. I am almost 6”, and I have never found the last row comfortable so I was excited to try that out. In Rivian, the third rows work reasonably well but I had to push the second row out a bit further. If you are taller than 6” you are likely not going to find it easy, but otherwise works well. There are lot of small things around the third row - like charging ports, storage in the arm rest, speakers so anyone in the third row won’t feel like a second class citizen. Lots has been discussed of the middle row so I’ll keep it brief - they do collapse all the way, there is no storage under them like the R1T, and to straighten them back up is a bit of a manual exercise. The second rows have 4 USB-C charging ports, small hangers in the back of the front seats, and personal controller for air flow and speed.

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Did I even drive the car? Yes, I did. Before we get there, I want to mention Rivian seemed tall to get in and out. And as far as I know there are no steps or the ones that can be installed aftermarket. Now the drive itself. The navigation is intuitive. I didn’t mess with it much but it has controls for mirrors, radio, Spotify, air-conditioning etc. As soon as I started driving the car, I noticed the regenerative braking. For comparison sake, while Tesla allows you to control how the braking feels, Rivian doesn’t. It takes a bit of time to get used to it since Rivian brakes harder if you take your foot off the gas (or should I say electric motor). The car felt a little heavy when I started off but that’s because the thing is massive, and I drive a sedan. There are several drive modes for speed and comfort setting that can be changed anytime. The turn indicator was another surprise. It is really quite, and I couldn’t hear it several times after indicating a turn signal. I drove on the main streets and highway for a bit. The car accelerates really well, and I do no issues merging into fast lanes or beating the traffic.

I’ll give this 8/10. Rivian has done an incredible job putting a car on the street that doesn’t feel like a v1. Obviously, there are many improvements that are needed but none that make you feel like you are getting less for what you pay. All I’d say is that if you never driven an SUV, please drive before you buy. The look, feel, drive factor are different and you may need to make your own decision.

Let me know if you’ll have questions.


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...I am almost 6”, and I have never found the last row comfortable so I was excited to try that out. In Rivian, the third rows work reasonably well but I had to push the second row out a bit further. If you are taller than 6” you are likely not going to find it easy, but otherwise works well...

Reading your account of being 6" tall, I couldn't help but recall Spinal Tap's Stonehenge. It's off topic and petty, but hopefully some fans out there think it rocks to 11.

  • A notable disaster occurred on Spinal Tap's 1982 tour when this song was performed using an 18-inch Stonehenge monument as a backdrop instead of an 18-foot one. The plans, which Tufnel drew up on a napkin, said 18" rather than 18', so that is what they got. The tiny monument was stomped on by dwarves hired to dance around it.

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Had my demo drive this morning in Richmond, Virginia. Chose to have the drive from our house, which worked out great. Landon from the service center arrived a few minutes early, gave us a great intro to all the features, leaving about 30 mins of driving time. First time EV driver, so I was fairly focused on the regen braking but loved the way it drove.
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