2021 Rivian R1S

Release Date: Fall 2021
Estimated Price: Starting around $70,000 (estimated)
  • All-new electric SUV
  • 300-plus miles of range
  • Blazing 0-60 mph acceleration in about 3 seconds
  • Seating for up to seven people
2021 Rivian R1S Review
What is the R1S?

You like SUVs, right? They're pretty cool. But what if instead of having a carbon-emitting gasoline engine under the hood you made the whole thing electric? Boom, electric amazeballs. Or at least that's what Rivian is aiming for with its new 2021 R1S.

A complement to the R1T pickup, the 2021 Rivian R1S is an all-electric SUV set to come out in the fall of 2021. It's potentially a rival to Ford's new Mustang Mach-E or Tesla's Model Y. But this one is bigger — think more like a Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Durango or Honda Pilot. It seats up to seven people and is meant to do all the stuff you do normally with an SUV — commute to work, take your family up to the lake, call your best friend while stuck in traffic and complain about your inconsiderate in-laws — with no compromise in utility or performance. If anything, it improves on those aspects compared to the typical SUV.

What does the R1S have for power?

As with the R1T, the R1S has a big underlying battery pack that feeds an electric motor at each wheel. These electric motors can quickly and automatically adjust their torque output to enhance the R1S' traction and handling capabilities depending on your driving inputs and road conditions. Nail the accelerator and the R1S will be righteously quick. With 415 horsepower combined from the front motors and 420 hp from the rear motors, the R1S clocks a claimed 0-60 mph time of just 3 seconds.

There's also a lot of potential for off-roading. Rivian says the R1S' adjustable air suspension raises or lowers the vehicle's ride height to suit driving conditions. Fully raised for off-roading, the R1S has a maximum of 14.4 inches of ground clearance. Off-road pickups such as the Ford F-150 Raptor have around 12 inches of ground clearance, so clearly there's a lot of potential there.

How's the R1S' interior?

The R1S comes in either a five-seat or seven-seat configuration. The 60/40-split second-row seats and 50/50-split third-row seats can fold nearly flat. This is a big SUV, so expect a suitable amount of room to fit adults in both the second and third rows. A panoramic all-glass roof further enhances the sense of airiness.

How's the R1S' tech?

Oh, it looks to be quite appealing. There's a big horizontally oriented center touchscreen plus a smaller screen ahead of the steering wheel. Rivian says the R1S supports over-the-air update capability, which means it can automatically incorporate improvements or new features without having to go to a dealership or service center. There's also onboard Wi-Fi, six USB ports and a wireless phone charger.

Advanced driver aids are also here. Rivian calls its system Driver+. It's standard on the R1S and provides features such as adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the R1S and the car in front), a forward collision mitigation system (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios) and lane keeping assist (steers the R1S back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker).

How's the R1S' storage and towing?

There's a big front trunk that can hold 11 cubic feet of stuff; that's about the same size as a compact sedan's trunk. There's also a smaller rear storage bin that you can use to store or hide items. Rivian says maximum cargo space is a substantial 108 cubic feet.

Rivian also says the R1S will be able to tow up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. That's similar to the capabilities of a midsize pickup or luxury SUV and enough to pull a decent-size travel trailer or boat. But based on our prior experience, we've learned that towing with an EV can be a challenge. The significant reductions in range while towing plus the logistics of recharging while hooked up to a trailer can put a damper on making long-distance towing a reality.

How economical is the R1S?

Rivian says the initial R1S models will have a range of more than 300 miles. Later on, the company says it will introduce additional versions, including a more affordable R1S with around 250 miles of range and a long-range model with potentially more than 400 miles of range. As of our publication time, the EPA had not released official efficiency estimates on R1S (that is, how much electricity the R1S will use to drive a certain distance).

Recharging can be done at home or at public charging stations. Rivian says the R1S can handle DC fast-charging capability of up to 200 kilowatts. That's quite fast and can potentially add up to 140 miles of range in 20 minutes, Rivian says. The company will be offering its own home-charging station that it says can add up to 25 miles of range per hour of charging.

EdmundsEdmunds says

The 2021 Rivian R1S has the space and capability to match existing gas-powered midsize three-row SUVs plus impressive acceleration and off-road ability. Of course, we won't know for sure how it all turns out until we drive it. But so far the R1S looks to be like a model you'll want to wait for and an intriguing alternative to established SUVs as well as electric SUVs such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y and X, and upcoming GMC Hummer EV.

Consumer reviews

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