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WORLD EXCLUSIVE: We Tested the 2022 Rivian R1T and It's the Quickest and Best-Handling Truck Ever

It's also really, <em>really</em> heavy

  • The all-electric 2022 Rivian R1T has four electric motors that deliver a combined 835 horsepower and 908 lb-ft of torque.
  • The R1T's large 135-kWh battery pack contributes to its staggering curb weight of 7,148 pounds, which is literally a ton more than a Ford F-150 SuperCab.
  • Despite its weight, the R1T out-accelerates, out-corners and out-brakes every truck we've tested, though its stunning 0-60 time doesn't quite match Rivian's estimate.

Welcome to the first independent instrumented test of the 2022 Rivian R1T, the world's first EV truck. Yeah, it's a pretty cool-looking truck, but what's even more impressive is the hardware it's packing underneath the slick sheetmetal. For starters, it's the first production electric vehicle with four electric motors &mdash one per wheel &mdash which is one more motor than the Tesla Model S Plaid we tested a couple months ago. The two front motors develop 415 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, while the rear pair make 420 hp and 495 lb-ft, for a combined total of 835 hp and 908 lb-ft.

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Need some context on this? Well, the craziest truck we tested before the Rivian was the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX with its 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8, and that poor thing only makes 702 hp and 650 lb-ft. Even Ford's upcoming TRX-killer, the V8-powered Raptor R, likely won't stand a chance at matching the Rivian's prodigious punch. The R1T is the proverbial asteroid arriving with dino-destroying power.

But did all that juice add up to a world-beating performance at the Edmunds test track? Spoiler alert: Yes, obviously. But you're going to want to know all the details.

2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Rivian R1T

How does the Rivian R1T perform?

Before we get into the performance numbers, we have to talk about the number that really caught us off guard, and it's the one we saw on our scales. The R1T weighed in at 7,148 pounds, which is massively heavier than any midsize or full-size truck. Ram threw the kitchen sink at the TRX and it still only weighs 6,396 pounds. Typical full-size trucks are more like 5,000 pounds. In fact, the only vehicles that have weighed more on our scales are heavy-duty crew-cab trucks. Dimensionally, the Rivian falls between a midsize (think Honda Ridgeline) and full-size (Ford F-150) truck, so you just don't expect it to weigh in with the super-heavy crowd.

A key factor driving the R1T's weight is the sizable 135-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is actually the second-largest of three battery packs that will be offered. According to the EPA, this pack should be sufficient to travel 314 miles on a single charge. We put this estimate to the test separately on our real-world EV driving loop.

In traditional EV fashion, the R1T does not utilize a transmission between the electric motors and wheels. But it does have a trick height-adjustable air suspension that can modulate the truck's ground clearance from roughly 8.5 inches to as much as 15 inches.

Our R1T test car came equipped with the Adventure pack, which adds a number of comfort features and premium touches. The wheels were 21-inchers shod with road tires (Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season 275/55 R21 116H). All told, the sticker price for this R1T totaled $74,075 before factoring in any eligible tax credits.

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Test Car
2022 Rivian R1T Launch Edition10/25/217,148 lbs3.5 sec11.9 sec @ 109.9 mph116 ft0.87 g
2021 Ram 1500 TRX10/25/216,396 lbs4.2 sec12.7 sec @ 106.5 mph130 ft0.74 g
2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E12/17/184,502 lbs7.4 sec15.5 sec @ 88.0 mph126 ft0.81 g
2019 Ram 2500HD Mega Cab6/17/198,320 lbs8.4 sec16.1 sec @ 85.3 mph144 ft0.72 g

For acceleration testing, there's no special launch control or "cheetah stance" to be initiated, but we did see a small improvement when overlapping the brake and accelerator pedals during our launch. Our best run returned a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds (3.3 seconds if you want to include a 1-foot rollout). Any way you slice it, that's a little slower than Rivian's claim of 3 seconds flat — but on the other hand, it's stupid quick for such a heavy beast. The quarter mile passes in 11.9 seconds at 109.9 mph.

The launch definitely provides some of that initial EV thrust that people love to react to on videos, but it's not as dramatic as in some of the other performance EVs. But again, this is a 7,000-pound truck we're talking about, not a sports car. The R1T is electronically limited to 110 mph, so the acceleration hits a sudden plateau right at the quarter mile. We're not sure if that was intentionally calculated, but it works out perfectly for the usual speed stats.

We figured the R1T would be fast, but we were concerned about how it would stop. With all that weight hurtling down the road, on non-performance-oriented all-season tires, a panic stop from 60 mph was not an appealing prospect. But as it turned out, the R1T was able to come to a halt in 116 feet, which is mind-blowing considering the average stopping distance for a midsize truck is 135 feet (and 150 feet for a heavy-duty truck).

So how did Rivian achieve this without slapping on a set of super-sticky cheater summer tires? We think it most likely has to do with the amount of regenerative braking capacity afforded by having four electric motors. Each motor essentially turns into a generator under deceleration, converting much of the Rivian's speed back into electricity. Not only does this help efficiency, it also takes a load off the mechanical brakes so you're not overworking them.

2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Rivian R1T

Let's take stock. Acceleration? Great. Braking? Fantastic. Now what about handling? The one quantifiable metric we have that relates to cornering is the skidpad, which measures road grip. Less weight and sticky tires usually help you here, so the deck was stacked against the Rivian. But the big fella surprised us again by posting a skidpad average of 0.87 g, easily the best performance of any truck on the market. For context, the average midsize truck does about 0.75 g, with the class-leading Honda Ridgeline posting 0.81 g. While 0.87 g isn't quite sports-car territory, it does keep company with much smaller and lighter vehicles like the Audi Q5 or even the turbocharged Mazda 3 hatchback.

Fun fact here: The Rivian doesn't have sway bars, which vehicles typically employ to control body roll. Instead, it uses a system similar to one we've seen in a few McLarens that cross-links the dampers hydraulically to control roll. Based on our observations from the driver's seat, the system does its job well. Subjectively, the Rivian is the best-handling truck on the market right now. Does it make you want to seek out curvy roads to bomb around? Not really. But it does have some well-tuned steering that offers quick turn-in and even some semblance of feedback for when your front tires begin to lose grip.

We weren't able to test out some of the more interesting "off-road only" drive modes, like Rally mode and Drift mode, due to time constraints with the truck, but we fully intend to do so the next chance we get behind the wheel.

Edmunds says

The 2022 Rivian R1T has incredible on-road performance chops for a truck, especially considering how much weight it's carrying around on its all-season tires. Our early preproduction test vehicle did not meet Rivian's acceleration claims of 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, but it's still way faster than any truck we've tested, or any vehicle needs to be. We were even more impressed by how well the R1T stops and handles. This is all in addition to Rivian's claims of incredible off-road capability and a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, both of which we plan to verify in the near future. Stay tuned for more Rivian coverage to come, including our real-world EV range test.