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Long-term Rivian R1T review reveals electric truck’s biggest victories and failures

Off-road performance is one odfd the Rivian R1T's strong suites, according to a long-term review. (Image source: Rivian)
Off-road performance is one odfd the Rivian R1T’s strong suites, according to a long-term review. (Image source: Rivian)

After 18,000 miles, tech YouTuber Ben Sullins has released a long-term review of the Rivian R1T electric pickup, discussing the vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. Unsurprisingly, the R1T’s most severe issues come from the brand’s newcomer status in the automotive space. Poor service, quality control, and software reliability are just some of the issues that plagued Sullins during his time owning the electric pickup.

Tech YouTuber Ben Sullins has driven a Rivian R1T for 18,000 miles, and he recently released a video that highlights some of the vehicle’s biggest flaws and shortcomings. Despite the age of the vehicle, Sullins’s Rivian still maintains an estimated 313 miles of estimated range, but one of the biggest gripes with the electric pickup is efficiency. Because the Rivian relies on a large battery pack to achieve its long range, charging takes long, despite the vehicle’s fast charging capabilities.

Initial teething issues with Rivian’s service meant resulted in technicians breaking something every time there was an issue that needed fixing, resulting in more repairs later on. Similar teething issues resulted in the vehicle shipping with a leaky seal over the spare wheel compartment in the truck bed, leading to water ingress and rust on the metal panelling in the compartment.

Software is another major gripe with the Rivian R1T. Instead of relying on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Rivian chose the same route as Tesla for its software, developing its own infotainment system. Not only does this mean owners have to set up all the software in the vehicle from scratch, but it’s resulted in annoying glitches in the maps and music streaming software.

Adaptive cruise control and the automated driving features on the R1T are also flawed thanks to the camera-based approach Rivian implemented in the R1T. Glare from bright sunlight appears to completely blind the automated driving systems, including the adaptive cruise control, leaving you with no options for driver assistance unless the weather is ideal.

On the more positive side of things, Sullins is still blown away by the on- and off-road performance of the Rivian R1T, praising it as the best stock off-road vehicle money can buy. While it’s difficult to objectively measure what’s the best, the Rivian R1T’s simple eAWD system certainly makes it a compelling option for off-road usage. How long it remains king of the hill is also to be seen, with the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck and Chevrolet Silverado EV promising similar off-road performance and even longer range.

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Julian van der Merwe, 2023-05-24 (Update: 2023-05-24)

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