The seven-passenger 2021 Rivian R1S sport-utility vehicle will be the second production vehicle from Rivian, a new electric-vehicle manufacturer based in Michigan. The 2021 Rivian R1S takes direct aim at the Tesla Model X, which is the only other three-row all-electric SUV currently available. The R1S will be also cheaper than the Model X when it goes on sale. The company has disclosed that the R1S shares many of its attributes with the R1T pickup. Like the R1T, it will come with three battery sizes, 105.0-kWh, 135.0-kWh, and 180.0-kWh, the largest of which offers up to a claimed 410-mile driving range.
What's New for 2021?
Both the R1S and the Rivian brand itself are new entrants in the SUV marketplace. The company says it'll start delivering to customers in June 2021. It kicks off with a Launch Edition that starts at $77,500, but a more affordable Explore trim level will join the lineup (presumably as a 2022 model) in January of that year. The R1S will be sold directly to consumers, although Rivian says that it also will set up a network of service centers and Tesla-like stores.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Launch Edition will be the only R1S available at first but you should snag one if you can. Along with an array of standard driver assists, it features everything from the Adventure model as well as an Off-Road package. Together they include an all-glass panoramic roof, Wi-Fi capability for over-the-air updates, and a 1000-lumen flashlight in the driver's door, a powered tonneau cover, an onboard air compressor, and underbody protection.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2021 R1S shares its battery packs, powertrains, much of its styling, and many of its specs with its R1T pickup sibling. The R1S will be available with 105-, 135-, and 180-kWh battery packs, with the largest of the three boasting a range of 400 miles, according to Rivian. (The base model will deliver 250-plus miles of range, while the mid-range model will go over 300 miles.) The top 754-hp, 135-kWh model has a claimed zero-to-60-mph time of 3.0 seconds, but even the slowest of the three versions should hit 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds. Every version of the R1S has an electric motor at each wheel, giving it all-wheel drive and impressive off-road capability. All models will ship with adjustable air suspension at launch and can vary their ground clearance from eight to 14.5 inches.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Every version of the R1S has all-wheel drive, with an electric motor at each wheel; they'll all be able to tow more than 7700 pounds. We expect towing will severely impact driving range, so those who plan to do this regularly should consider the model with the largest battery. The R1S has a payload capacity of 1800 pounds.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
Rivian will offer the largest battery pack in the consumer market when it launches. A range of 105-, 135-, and 180-kWh battery packs will be available, with claimed ranges of more than 250 and 300 miles and top out at 400 miles, respectively.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has not yet released any fuel economy estimates for the R1S, but in order to take on the Model X and the Audi e-tron, it will need to deliver 80-100 MPGe. We haven't had a chance to test drive an R1S yet, let alone put one through our 200-mile highway fuel economy test. When we're able to conduct that test, we'll update this story with results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Like the R1T, the R1S boasts a beautifully designed cabin with contemporary styling, fancy leather, wood trim, and two large displays—one for infotainment and one for the driver's gauge display. A 12-cubic-foot front trunk, a large rear cargo area, a split tailgate, and a spacious-looking third row add to the utility of the R1S. What you see here is the production model, so the futuristic exterior design and modern interior will remain intact when deliveries of the R1S begin.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The horizontally mounted infotainment system uses expandable tiles for individual features with the main options (navigation, media, and climate controls) available at all times at the bottom of the display. Instead of delving into submenus, options slide out of the side of tiles to reduce the complexity of the system. Rivian hasn't released information on other infotainment features, but we expect Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 R1S hasn't been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Rivian says every model will be outfitted with hands-free driver-assistance technology, with the suite called Driver+. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
All Rivian models come with a generous standard warranty which includes bumper-to-bumper coverage for five years or 60,000 miles as well as a battery and drivetrain policy that goes on for eight years or 175,000 miles.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers eight years or 175,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance