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.
2021 Rivian R1S
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.