2022 Rivian R1T First Test Review: The Quickest Pickup MotorTrend Has Ever Tested

2022 Rivian R1T First Test Review: The Quickest Pickup MotorTrend Has Ever Tested

11/10/2021

For a vehicle that’s only been on sale for about a month, there are quite a lot of firsts associated with the 2022 Rivian R1T. For starters, it’s both Rivian’s first production vehicle and the first electric pickup to hit the open market. It’s the first quad-motor electric vehicle to go on sale. It’s the first electric vehicle to cross the United States off-road. And to that growing list of firsts, we’ll add a first place: It’s now the quickest truck we’ve ever tested. For now, at least.

How Quick Is the Rivian R1T?

Let’s dive into the 2022 R1T’s numbers before circling back on the rest of the truck. Rivian was kind enough to send us two R1Ts to test: an R1T Launch Edition riding on 20-inch wheels with all-terrain off-road tires and an R1T Adventure Package, which aside from its stock 21-inch wheels with all-season road tires was identically equipped to the other truck.

The all-terrain-tired R1T was up first. It launched from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and covered the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 111.2 mph. The street-tired R1T was unsurprisingly even quicker, rocketing to 60 mph in a staggering 3.1 seconds and through the quarter in 11.6 at 110.8.

That’s significantly quicker than what’s now the second-quickest pickup we’ve tested in our 72-year history, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. That truck, boasting a 702-hp supercharged V-8, needed 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph and 12.7 seconds to run through the quarter mile at 106.3 mph. Still blistering quick for something so large but well behind the smaller R1T.

How Is the Rivian R1T So Much Quicker Than Other Pickups?

Easy: It comes down to motors. Four of ’em, to be exact. The Rivian R1T has four permanent-magnet motors, each one mounted inboard at a wheel, which combine to produce 835 horsepower and 908 lb-ft of torque. The front motors are slightly less powerful than the rear, producing 415 hp and 413 lb-ft versus 420 hp and 495 lb-ft. The big 135-kW battery pack is capable of charging at speeds up to 190 kW (though we’re told the system will eventually be able to handle 300-kW peak speeds), giving the R1T 314 miles of range and 74/66/70 mpg-e city/highway/combined EPA ratings.

The R1T is quicker than our previous record holder, the Ram 1500 TRX, not just because it makes more power but also because of the way electric motors deliver that power. The Ram 1500 TRX needs to send its engine’s output through a transmission and transfer case to its four wheels, spinning through each gear until its 5,800-rpm redline before shifting and starting the whole process all over again. The R1T’s motors, on the other hand, are capable of delivering all of their torque at 0 rpm, only beginning to wane as the motors approach about 18,500 rpm. In fact, the Rivian can deliver so much power off the line that the truck restricts its own output in that situation to prevent wheelspin. A dedicated launch control would likely help the R1T achieve Rivian’s claimed 3.0-second 0-60 time in our testing; our quickest launches came in Sport mode by pressing hard on the brake, flooring the throttle, and releasing the brake.

What Is the Rivian R1T Like to Drive?

We’ve covered how the R1T drives extensively, both on-road and off- in our exclusive First Drive, our Second Drive, and, of course, on our 7,700-mile Trans-America Trail overland expedition, so we’ll be fairly brief here. Simply put, the R1T is like no other truck we’ve ever driven. Effortlessly powerful, incredibly comfortable, and supremely capable both on- and off-road. It can even tow—up to 11,000 pounds—and haul—up to 1,760 pounds—too.

That said, all of our previous experiences with the R1T were on all-terrain tires, and so this was our first time driving an R1T on the more street-oriented rubber. The differences are subtle but notable. Unsurprisingly, on street tires the R1T feels more like a sports car and less like a sports truck than the version on all-terrains does. There’s more on-pavement grip, less squish from the tires’ tread blocks, and more precision. You don’t give up much in off-road capability, either. The street-tired R1T shrugged off a light-duty off-road course just as easily as the all-terrain truck did, though we’d still recommend the all-terrain tires if you have serious off-roading in your future.

What Trucks Might Be Quicker Than a Rivian R1T?

Although the 2022 Rivian R1T is for now safely on top of our list of quickest pickup trucks, its reign may not last long. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup goes on sale imminently, and GMC is promising its electric “super truck” will be the quickest. With only three motors but 1,000 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft of torque—not to mention a promised 3.0-second 0-60 claim—it’s going to be close. Stay tuned.

Is the Interior Nice? How Do You Charge a Rivian? Is the Rivian Good Off-Road?

Yes, easily, and very. Now having spent more time in the Rivian R1T than any other publication, we can confirm the cabin of the R1T is a great place to spend time, the truck is easy to charge, and its damn near unstoppable off-road. For more on all these topics and for the full R1T deep dive, open up some new tabs and check out our other coverage:

Trans-America Trail Overland Expedition, Part I
Trans-America Trail Overland Expedition, Part II
Road Tripping in a Rivian R1T
How Do You Charge an R1T Off- and On-Road?
How the Rivian R1T’s Suspension Works
Rivian R1T Interior Review
Rivian R1T Frunk Review
Rivian R1T Gear Tunnel Review
Rivian R1T Onboard Air Compressor Review

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