- We've driven our Rivian over 5,000 miles in five months.
- We are wooed by the cool of our Rivian, but issues are beginning to pop up. Frequently.
- Rivian says it recently improved our truck's range with an over-the-air update.
Here's How Our 2022 Rivian R1T Fared in Its First 5,000 Miles
Is the honeymoon over?
We still have googly eyes for our Rivian R1T. We love how quick it is, love the myriad gizmos and features it came with, and still think it looks pretty darn cool. But like discovering your new life partner has poor credit and snores like a two-stroke engine, our glasses are a little less rosy for our R1T now that we've spent some real time together.
We're under no illusions that any first effort from a brand-new company will be free of flaws. Many of the bugs we saw during our first encounter with the R1T have been addressed and we're confident that our truck will continue to improve over time with software updates. But it's not just digital glitches that we've been encountering lately, and we aren't the only ones experiencing them.
Updates, annoyances and recalls, oh my!
As we mentioned, we've seen noticeable improvements to Rivian's software thanks to newer versions of system firmware that have been rolled out. These updates have improved things such as screen responsiveness, introduced new features like a surround-view camera angle (which didn't exist before), and helped mitigate the vampire drain on the battery.
However, within a short span recently, we've encountered a number of issues that can't be fixed with new code beamed to our truck over the air. These range from just minor annoyances in quality to parts actually coming loose or malfunctioning. Early this month we reported on a Rivian recall affecting nearly all of the company's vehicles. Rivian reached out to us and we were able to schedule our truck to get it repaired pretty easily. A few days later, a mobile tech came to our offices to service our truck while we stood by and coveted his R1T's rail-mounted sliding toolbox setup that fits neatly into the cubby that lives behind the cab. It's not available for purchase — we checked.
The recall, which concerned a possible loose nut connecting the upper control arm and steering knuckle, took all of about 5 minutes to fix. Beats any dealership visit record by huge margin.
After this repair, we were recently notified again of another round of issues.
The list of things that might have issues include a misrouted wiring harness under the front cowl, a loose rear suspension toe link bolt, water collection in the rocker panels from heavy rain or stream fording, and window moldings that could become detached. Of these listed issues, we've so far only encountered the loose window molding, which coincidentally cropped up at the same time our passenger side window stopped rolling up all the way. If you ever want to generate exponentially more cabin wind noise while driving, this seems to be a great combo. According to the document above, Rivian's fix for these issues includes replacing the trim piece and recalibrating the window.
Any good news to report?
We range tested our Rivian soon after its recommended break-in miles were met. Since we had planned to use our Rivian for off-road things, we ordered it with the 20-inch wheels and chunky all-terrain tires. These tires are great for off-road grip, but they do allegedly come with a range penalty. Or so we thought.
After running our R1T on our real-world range loop, it actually traveled farther than the first R1T we tested that wore the more efficient 21-inch wheels with all-season road tires. There are no official EPA figures for the R1T with all-terrain tires, but Rivian estimates there would be a reduction in range of about 40 miles. Instead we saw a range gain of about 4 miles. So how do we explain this?
Full disclosure: Our test trucks didn't exactly have the same test conditions due to time constraints on our first test. The first test took place almost entirely at night, which had traffic benefits but also meant cooler ambient temperatures and heavier use of the headlights. Our long-term Rivian ran during the day, and although it encountered heavier traffic, it also enjoyed, on average, 15-degree warmer temps (68 degrees versus 53 degrees).
The final piece of the puzzle here is that Rivian contacted us and let us know that it's been able to improve the R1T's range via — you guessed it — over-the-air updates! So in order to prove this claim, we're looking to swap out our truck's all-terrain tires and rerun our range test on 21-inch road tires again. Stay tuned for that.
The Rivian R1T hasn't lost its appeal among most of our staff yet, but the issues that usually come with first-model-year-first-electric-truck-from-an-all-new-startup are starting to pop up, and the widespread supply chain challenges don't do the situation any favors. We'll have many more updates coming, but in the meantime let us know if you're curious about anything R1T-related and what you'd like for us to test next. We'd love to hear from you.