The Search for the Ultimate Dad Car continues. And today I’m charged up to look at one of the most talked about vehicles that’s come along in years. Yes indeedy. It’s the 2023 Rivian R1T review. The electric truck that’s making just about every car reviewers’ top 10 list.
It’s been called the best overall electric vehicle. The best truck ever. Best luxury vehicle. Best off-roading truck. And the best adventure truck. But is it the ultimate dad car? Can it haul your family around, breeze through your work commute, and then head for the hills for some weekend fun? Read my Rivian R1T review to find out if this thing lives up to the hype.
A Quick Rundown of the Rivian R1T
The R1T is a mid-sized pickup truck. The Rivian stands 217.1 inches long, 81.8 inches wide, 78.2 inches high, and has a wheelbase of 135.8 inches. It sits somewhere around the size of a Ford Ranger (211” L x 78” W x 72” H), Toyota Tacoma (212-226” L x 75” W x 72” H), or Chevy Colorado (213” L x 75” W x 82” H).
It’s powered by two or four electric motors depending on the model, which crank out up to 835 horsepower and a max tow capacity of 11,000 pounds. The exterior design is clean, sharp, and futuristic, but not so far out there that it looks out of place.
And the interior is way more luxurious than any truck I’ve owned. All of this comes at a price tag that will zap $73,000 from your wallet for starters. Add a few accessories and the price sky-rockets from there. But more on that later. Before we get into the heart of the Rivian R1T review, let’s run through a short history lesson. How did Rivian leap onto the electric truck stage seemingly from out of nowhere?
The Origin of Rivian
For starters, Rivian did not leap onto the scene from nowhere. It started with founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe’s childhood obsession with vehicles in the 1980s. He helped rebuild his neighbor’s Porsche 356s when he was barely old enough to hold the tools. He then earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT’s Sloan Automotive Lab. Basically, an intense incubator of cutting edge automotive engineering pioneers.
It was there that Scaringe became determined to disrupt the auto industry and build environmentally conscious electric vehicles. And in 2009, Rivian was started. Yes, you read that right. 2009. Scaringe and his team of Rivian engineers spent the next decade designing and refining their vehicle before releasing it into the world.
Over that time, their patience and meticulous attention to detail paid off. In 2019, Ford partnered with Rivian with a $500 million investment to help them through the finish line of the R1T launch. Ford ultimately backed out of the partnership in 2022 to circle its wagons around its own designs. It’s the wild west out on the electric vehicle landscape. No car manufacturer is secure. And while Rivian deals with its financial ups and downs, its vehicles now top just about every best-of list out there. And for good reason.
2023 Rivian R1T Review
The Rivian R1T is built to be the ultimate adventure truck. And it seems to check all the boxes. From its battery’s ability to handle extreme temperatures (130 degrees to -25 degrees). To its solid range of 260 to 400 miles. Or its multiple gear storage options. This thing is ready for anything your family can throw at it.
Watch the 6-minute Wilderdad review of the Rivian R1T here and see it in action:
Here’s the full rundown of the R1T:
Rivian R1T Specs
Dual electric motor set-up delivers 600 horsepower while the quad motor configuration cranks out 835 horsepower
- Zero to 60 mph: 3 sec
- 5 Drive Modes: All Purpose, Sport, Conserve, Snow, Off-Road
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
- Combined/city/highway: 69/75/65 mpg electric-equivalent
- Base battery pack range: 260 miles
- Large battery pack range: 310 miles
- Max battery pack range: 400 miles
RIVIAN R1T BASE PRICE:
RIVIAN R1T PROS:
- Unique, modern styling stands out
- Powerful motors and refined handling
- Superior crash test ratings and crash avoidance technology
- Capable handling off road
- Excellent family adventure vehicle
RIVIAN R1T CONS:
- Several part recalls already
- Software bugs (minor issues like radio static and backup camera glitches)
- Large battery is hard to charge with low power chargers
All of this comes at a price tag that will zap $73,000 from your wallet for starters. Add a few accessories like quad motors, tonneau cover, and off-road wheels, and the price sky-rockets from there.
But more on that later. For now, let’s dive into the first Ultimate Dad Car factor of this Rivian R1T review, which is comfort.
Comfort Score = 4 out of 5
First of all, the Rivian R1T doesn’t feel like a truck at all. Its suspension is tight and with crazy fast acceleration it feels like an oversized luxury sports car. It includes heated and cooling front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a large in-dash display.
You also get interior wood detailing, a great sound system by Meridian, USB ports and outlets, and yes, cup holders for everyone. You’ve got a decent amount of room in the back seat (36.6 inches) for kids and adults. And the back seat even has its own climate controls.
Oh, and the full-length panaromic moon roof is standard. So, with all that in mind I give the Rivian R1T a Comfort Score of 4 out of 5.
Safety Score = 5 out of 5
Now for the safety factor. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the Rivian R1T the title of 2022 Top Safety Pick +, their highest safety rating reserved for cars that get a good score in all six crash tests.
The R1T also received a superior rating for front crash prevention. And its child car seat latches also got a rating of good for ease of use. It’s got 8 airbags throughout the cabin, driver-assistance technology like emergency automatic braking, forward collision warnings and more:
- Highway assist including auto steering, braking, and acceleration on select highways
- Dynamic brake support (helps prevent collision)
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane change assist
- Lane keep assistance
- Lane departure warning
- Blind spot warning
- Auto high beams (switches to low beams when cars approach)
- Park assist
I’m no safety expert but when the IIHS gives such a stellar review, you know it’s a solid car. So, I give the Rivian R1T a Safety score of 5 out of 5.
Reliability Score = 3 out of 5
Now for the Reliability factor. The Rivian R1T has only been around since September of 2021. So there really aren’t any complete reliability tests yet.
Consumer Reports expects the truck to be less reliable than most other new cars. That’s because Rivian is a brand new company and the fact that the R1T has had 3 recalls in the last year and a half because of faulty steering, seat belts, and air bags.
J.D. Power & Associates has yet to rate the Rivian so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that report when it comes out later this year.
My brother-in-law has had one of these for over a year and it’s been in the shop twice for recalls. However, Rivian took care of the issues quickly and he said the service was friendly and thorough. Otherwise, he’s had zero issues with the truck. Rivian offers a decent warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The battery and drivetrain are both covered for 8 years or 175,000, which should set your mind at ease, so for that I give the R1T a Reliability score of 3 out of 5.
Environmental Friendly Rating = 5 out of 5
On to Environmental Friendliness. The Rivian R1T gets an EPA-rated 74 miles per gallon of gasoline-eqivalent electric power in the city, 66 miles on highway, and 70 combined. That kind of range can save you up to $1000 a year in the cost of gas.
It also gets a government greenhouse gas rating of 10 out of 10, and smog rating of 10 out of 10.
So, for the Ultimate Dad Car rating, this is an easy one. I give the R1T an Environmental score of 5 out of 5.
Fun Factor = 5 out of 5
Lastly, we get to the Fun Factor. The dual motor model delivers 600 hp, which is enough to give you whiplash. But the quad motor model, which is what I drove, does 0-60 in 3 seconds with its 835 hp. That’s borderline crazy (but in a good way)!
The R1T also got 5 drive modes. All Purpose for everyday driving. Sport, which tightens steering and lowers the truck to just 8 inches of ground clearance. Conserve for maximum efficiency. Snow for slippery conditions. And Off-Road that uses its adjustable air suspension to give you a massive 15 inches of clearance.
The Rivian also has a ton of storage for adventure gear. It’s got a roomy frunk. The optional tonneau cover keeps stuff secure in the bed. And one of the coolest features is the gear tunnel in between the back seat and the truck bed. Enough room for your kid if they misbehave. I couldn’t find any real faults with the R1T so I give it a Fun Factor score of 5 out of 5.
Rivian R1T Review Conclusion
As for range, the Rivian’s standard battery pack gives you about 260 miles per charge. The large battery pack should give you 310 miles and the max battery pack about 400 miles. That’s way more than most EVs.
So, when we total everything up the Rivian R1T gets an Ultimate Dad Car score of 22 out of 25. That’s the highest score for a vehicle I’ve given out. I didn’t think I’d be that impressed with the R1T but here I am. This thing is freaking sweet and quite possible the ultimate family adventure vehicle.
The only thing that’s not too sweet is the price. Like I said, it starts at $73,000 and when you add a few extras like the quad-motor setup, a larger battery, and all-terrain wheels you’re looking at a $90,000 truck. A 100K with tax and fees.
If you’ve got the dough, great. You might have to wait three months. Or longer. So, if that’s a deal breaker for you, no sweat. I’ve got lots more cars to review.
Until next time, I hope to see you out on the road in my search for the Ultimate Dad Car.
Want more car reviews? Take a look at the uber-luxurious 2022 Mercedes AMG GLE 53 Coupe. It packs a punch with 429 horsepower and 0-60 acceleration of a mere 5.2 seconds. See all the photos here: https://wilderdad.com/mercedes-amg-gle-53-coupe-review/