As a left coast urbanite, I’m not precisely what you’ll name a truck man. (Fifteen to twenty mpg when the world is warming and fuel is pushing $5 a gallon? No thanks.) However I’m undoubtedly an electrical car man (most not too long ago whereas testing the Lucid Air) and a self-sufficient tenting out in the parts sort of man (together with at a dozen Burning Mans). So whereas I was cautious about my first ever truck drive being an off-road check of the Rivian R1T — an electrical truck now transport to early prospects in its $73,000 launch version and garnering great reviews alongside the method — I additionally seized the alternative prefer it was an outsized steering wheel.
Good factor I did, as a result of the R1T simply shot to the high of my record of dream autos. Seems that vans are a blast to drive, particularly once they’re studded with 10 cameras feeding to a 16-inch display that may assist you to navigate even the muddiest downhill furrows. Seems that once you take mpg worries and vary anxiousness out of the equation (the R1T launch version will get 314 miles to a cost, which places it in the identical vary as a Tesla Mannequin 3; the firm is promising a 400+ mile model in 2022), off-roading and tenting turn out to be rather more doable for the eco-conscious urbanite.
As lots of the opinions have famous, Rivian appears to be promoting its launch car as a sort of “Patagonia” or an “REI” truck. However that is not simply advertising bluster. It truly is supremely simple, if not low cost, to pop up a tent on high of the truck, both on the flatbed or the roof, with a few crossbars at $450 every. Simply add some well-staked-down shade, and you have got the good Burning Man truck tenting setup.
The Rivian R1T in full tent tenting and cooking mode.
Credit score: chris taylor / mashable
The $5,000 “camp kitchen” attachment can be elective, however Rivian has finished its stage greatest to make it fascinating. All of the plates, bowls, cutlery, and tools you want for a cookout — together with the important espresso pot — are secreted in well-designed drawers. A few induction stoves can cook dinner for hours and nonetheless not deplete the automotive battery by greater than a single mile of vary. And the complete factor slides right into a sort of donut gap storage space in the center of the car that is additionally accessible from the rear of the cabin. Which, along with the frunk and the flatbed itself, give the R1T a formidable 68 cubic ft of storage.
To verify I wasn’t simply being dazzled by my intro to truck tenting world, I introduced alongside my pal Larry, who’s a truck man. (He as soon as went to Colorado o get a specific choices bundle on his Ford F-150 though he’d must drive it again to California — that sort of truck man.) Furthermore, Larry is considering of changing that F-150, the most standard fuel car in America, with an electrical truck. He is prime Rivian demographic, and has been eyeing the R1T for a while — but in addition would possibly maintain out for the F-150 Lightning, the Ford EV set to launch in 2022. Would the R1T flip his head?
When it got here to off-roading, the reply was a really clear sure. The phrase Larry saved returning to was “nimble.” The R1T, smaller and lighter and with higher suspension than the F-150, was merely extra enjoyable to navigate round curves (together with at some roller-coaster-like 20-degree angles) and up and down hills.
In the meantime, the encompass sound system was in a position to deal with a wholly acceptable Queen soundtrack with out smothering us in an excessive amount of bass.
Eat our mud: The Rivian R1T after a zero-to-60 uphill check.
Credit score: larry edelstein / mashable
Larry did be aware that the cabin of the R1T was merely not as snug as its Ford counterpart. Having simply pushed an hour with the F-150 seats massaging our backs and butts, I was inclined to agree. It’s not that it felt smaller; if something, the flat tinted glass roof made the cabin really feel extra spacious than it’s (simply as the extra curved glass roof in the Lucid Air does). However the consolation of the seating, dinged by some reviewers for not standing as much as the calls for of long-distance driving, jogged my memory extra of the flimsy Chevy Bolt than the well-designed Lucid seating expertise.
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Nevertheless, that wasn’t the characteristic that turned Larry off the R1T for now. It’s the indisputable fact that Rivian would not present Apple CarPlay, which has turn out to be indispensable to him because of its inclusion on the F-150. It additionally would not provide Android Auto. That is virtually actually as a result of Amazon is an investor, and the R1T comes with Alexa integration. The truck’s software program interface is somewhat on the complicated aspect, although firm reps have been anxious to remind us that it could be quickly up to date over the air. However not transport with the two most standard automotive techniques for the two most standard kinds of smartphone looks like an unforced error.
Regardless, the R1T ought to flip loads of heads amongst urbanites seeking to unleash their interior adventurer. With the F-150 Lightning and Tesla’s Cybertruck occurring sale in 2022 (allegedly beginning at $42K and $40K, respectively), we could also be about to enter a golden age of blue-state truck fans, and intense competitors between the three fashions that may solely profit the shopper. However if you happen to simply cannot wait to get your camp on, the cookout-friendly and nimble Rivian truck is your greatest guess but.