Rivian SUV: Everything You Need To Know About The R1S

Photo Courtesy Of Rivian

Rivian is an emerging car company that currently has two available models for purchase: the R1S and the R1T. The R1S is Rivian’s SUV model and the R1T is a truck model. In this article, I will be focusing primarily on the R1S. Seeing that the very first R1S is just barely starting to be delivered to customers there are still a lot of unknowns about this new electric SUV on the market. This vehicle is really in a world of its own with its only major competitor being the Tesla Model X. There are many features that come included with the R1S that are very unique to the R1S. Rivian put a lot into the vehicle and I am excited to be able to talk about all of the ins and out of this car. 

History Of The Rivian R1S

Rivian is an electric car company that was founded in 2009. In 2011 Rivian produced its first prototype but the project was abandoned after a few years. So Rivian went back to the drawing board. During the next few years, Rivian really focused on creating infrastructure and a solid organization. In 2017, Rivian purchased a large manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. By the end of 2017, Rivian had some ideas to work with and had finalized the plans for two alpha prototypes. The next year the Rivian R1S SUV debuted at an LA auto show alongside the R1T. 

Rivian has now moved its headquarters to Irvine, California, and has continued to develop new technologies and ideas for its vehicles. Rivian has put a lot of time into designing and redeveloping the R1S as it will be their first public vehicle released alongside the R1T. Originally, the R1S was set to release in 2020 but we all know what happened to the world in 2020. It can just be said that there were some setbacks that Rivian faced, the biggest of which probably being supply shortages. 

In 2019, Rivian received support from many companies, two of the biggest being with Ford and Amazon. In total, Rivian received 3 billion dollars worth of funding which allowed them to begin production on the R1S. With this funding, Rivian was also able to continue to increase the funding that was going into the development of not only the technologies in the car but also even begins plans on the expansions the company plans onto to the facility in Normal. 

After many roadblocks, Rivian is finally beginning to get the R1S off of the production line going into 2022. The release date for the R1S has continually been moved back. Earlier, the R1S was set to release in September of 2021 but as we can see, that didn’t happen. Now it has an official date and they have already begun to get vehicles to customers who have pre-ordered them. 

What Makes The Rivian R1S Different From Its Competitors

The main competition for the R1S is the Tesla Model X, Tesla’s electric SUV. Before the R1S, the Tesla Model X didn’t have much competition on the market. But why would you choose the R1S over the Tesla Model X? Is there really any difference? There are some differences that could cause consumers to go for the Rivian R1S instead of the Model X but you will have to decide for yourself which you would prefer.

The interiors of the two vehicles are very similar. Both can be made with very nice upholstered seats (and other materials) and have large middle displays. The layout and space available on the interior are also very similar but Rivian has made the most of the space available and even has storage compartments under the seats.

Both the Model X and the Rivian R1S have the capacity to hold 7 passengers. The Rivian R1S does have the option to only come with 5 seats so you can have extra cargo space if you would prefer that. In the end, both vehicles will get you from point A to point B in style and with everything you need.

One of the most significant differences is the range of the two cars. Range is something that many consumers take a look at before purchasing an electric vehicle. Most electric cars don’t have amazing range and that is one of the main drawbacks of getting an electric car. The average electric car only has a range of about 200 miles. Tesla reports the Model X has a range of 348 miles which is quite good for an electric car at this point. Rivian’s R1S has an impressive range of 318.

The R1S is really a family car built for adventure. I already mentioned that the R1S has an option to have an extra row in the back to allow 7 passengers, so it is perfect for hauling the whole family around to your favorite places. With the impressive range, you also don’t have to worry so much about getting stranded somewhere in the mountains.

Plus, Rivian has created and is continuing to expand what they call “Rivian Adventure Network”. Rivian also has exclusive adventure gear that you can purchase with the R1S. This feature includes possible options like survival kits or even a roof top tent. Rivian even has flashlights installed in the doors of the car. 

Rivian’s R1S has a huge clearance of 14.9 inches. To give you a little perspective, the average truck has a clearance of around 11.5 inches so that is almost another 3 inches of clearance! Since the R1S is electric, that also means it doesn’t need any air intake, which allows it some pretty incredible water fording capabilities. According to dnv.com, the Rivian R1S is able to ford up to 42.7 inches of water with second place competition coming in almost 10 inches shorter at 33 inches. That means that when you encounter almost any river or water, you will be able to cross it without worrying about swamping your car. You can cross over 3 feet of water in the R1S. 

Vehicle Specs

The maximum height of the Rivian R1S is 77.3 in (6.44 feet), which is including the antenna. The length of the R1S is 200.8 in (16.73 feet). From wheelbase to wheel base, the length wise the distance is 121.1 in (10.09 feet). The width of the Rivian R1S with the side mirrors folded in is 81.8 in (6.82 feet). The curb weight of the R1S is 5842 lb. There is also a total of 105 cubic feet of storage space, your average SUV will have anywhere from 30-50 cubic feet of storage, so Rivian has really taken advantage of every inch in this vehicle. 

Just for a comparison, a 2022 Chevy suburban is 225.7 inches long and is about 84 inches wide with the mirrors folded in. A 2021 Ford Escape is about 180 inches long with a width of about 78 inches with the mirrors folded in. Now that you have the dimensions of those two cars, we can see that the Rivian R1S fits about right in the middle of the two. The R1S isn’t as big as a Chevy Suburban and isn’t quite as small as the compact Ford Escape.


Historically, getting an electric vehicle can be pretty expensive especially if you wanted something besides a tiny coupe. $70,000 is your starting price for the R1S. This includes all of the standard features. With $70,000 you can get your R1S in either white or gray and still get the option of whether you want 5 or 7 seats. There are many add ons and customization options with the R1S, so you can be looking for upwards of $90,000. Many other luxury SUVs are going to be around the same price. If you were looking to buy a new Tesla Model X it would easily be around $100,000. 


Rivian is making state of the art electric cars, so of course they are going to have some state of the art features. The R1S has a feature called Drive+ and it comes with some pretty cool features. Drive+ is basically as close to autopilot as you can get. With Drive+, you can control your R1S simply with your voice.

With a few simple words you can change lanes, and the car can really steer for you. Drive+ will also adjust your speed and automatically steer to keep you in your lane, unless you tell it to change lanes of course. In addition to all of these features, Rivian has the ability to actually update your R1S remotely, so things like Drive+ can even continue to receive updates and improve after you have bought the car. 

Drive+ also comes with a ton of safety features, which Rivian makes clear is a top priority for its vehicles. There is also a 360 degree camera system to help warn you of any vehicles in your blind spots. The R1S also comes with safety features like lane assist.

The R1S can automatically brake and slow down if the car gets too close to the rear of another vehicle. However, even with all of these safety features Rivian gives a clear warning that these things stop you from being fully attentive to the road and encourages drivers to have their hands on the wheel at all times. The R1S even has an interior camera to monitor driver alertness and the car will give you a little reminder if it sees you with your hands off of the steering wheel. 

Other special features that come with the R1S is an air compressor and a rechargeable flashlight that is built into the door of the car. Both of these are super handy when you might be out adventuring on your own. Another cool feature is the adjustable height of the R1S. The R1S can lower down to as low as 8.1 in when parked to help with unloading groceries, camping gear, or whatever you might have in the back of your R1S. Rivian engineers have really done their best to make the R1S as user friendly as possible.

The R1S’ infotainment system comes with tons of features all for your comfort and enjoyment and it is beautifully simple. All of the R1S’ features can be controlled from a single large touch-screen screen located in the center of the dashboard. Bluetooth capabilities are included and it will be possible to download certain apps so that you can be connected with all of the things you love. You will have the ability to listen to your favorite music and manage calls all through your R1S, which isn’t anything surprising but it is still convenient.

Due to Rivian’s strong support from Amazon, Amazon’s Alexa will be in each vehicle and will be able to do all of the same things that your at home Alexa will do. The extent of Alexa’s integration in the car is unknown, but I would not be surprised if you will be able to even control things like the heating and cooling in the car through Alexa. Alexa will allow you to play music or search information just with a simple voice command. 

Taking a look at the interior of the R1S, you can find a modern and simplistic look that is attractive to the eye. The seats are heated, as well as the steering wheel, which is a great accessory for anywhere that gets cold in the winter. 100 percent recycled textile floor mats are also included.

The Explore package and the Launch Edition of the R1S both include Chilewich floor mats. Chilewich is a company that makes special woven vinyl mats that are stylish and durable. Rivian uses a mix of neutral colored vinyls with natural wood accents to really make the interior pop. As you can see, environmental friendliness is a theme with Rivian.

 There are special features that you can get with your vehicles that include specialty tire options and even special colors for the exterior and the interior. Rivian even offers things like emergency road kits that can be bought with the car in case you get into a tough spot. There is also a wide range of racks you can buy including: bike racks, ski/snowboard racks, and even surfboard racks. Rivian has given a wide range of optional features that you can include with the R1S no matter what your hobbies and favorite outdoor activities may be.

Rivian’s R1S also comes with a few warranties. First off, they offer a standard comprehensive warranty of up to 5 years of 60,000 miles. There is also a battery pack and drivetrain warranty of 8 years or 175,000 miles that will cover anything having to do with the battery or drivetrain, a part of their cars that Rivian is very proud of. If you know you are going to be taking your R1S into some harsh conditions, there is also a limited corrosion warranty available that is good for up to 8 years and unlimited miles. 

What Is The Release Date of the R1S?

The release date for the R1S has changed many times. Originally, when the R1S was first unveiled, the release date was set for sometime in 2020 but due to COVID-19 and other reasons, the release date was pushed back. Rivian set a new goal to release the R1S sometime in 2021, presumily in the month of September but Rivian still faced challenges in getting the production of the R1S up and running. World wide shortages, caused by the pandemic, of things like microchips (which were needed for the construction of the cars) led to delay in the completion of production so the release date had to be once again moved back.

January of 2022 was Rivian’s next target to begin to release the R1S and they have actually done it. Near the end of December 2021 Rivian has now begun to get customers their long awaited R1S’. 

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