We recently joined the team from MotorTrend on an exclusive trans-continental journey across America in two ’22 Rivian R1T battery electric vehicles (BEVs). This five-leg, 43-day trip started in Nags Head, North Carolina, and covered 7,686 mostly off-road miles along the Trans-America Trail, ending up on the beach in Port Orford, Oregon.
Because the trip would be traversing the Rocky Mountains and Colorado’s legendary San Juan Mountains, Four Wheeler was invited to take part on the most technical part of the journey, including Black Bear Pass, to pilot the Rivians along the most demanding part of the trip. Over our weeklong stint in the driver seat of a pre-production R1T loaded to its over 4-ton GVWR with people and gear (outfitted with a rack, Rivian rooftop tent, and a fridge, along with an extra spare, and in the case of one of our two trucks, Rivian’s Camp Kitchen), we traveled a total of 1,502 miles from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to La Sal, Utah, traversing the Continental Divide.
The route was laid out by Rivian’s team to ensure charging stations would be accessible during our adventure. Rivian also installed charging stations in the gaps, leaving them behind so that there would be ample chargers in the wake of this trip, allowing anyone to replicate our adventure in their EV if so desired.
About The Truck
The R1T is an electric truck, pricing starts at $67,500, and comes well equipped, including a 317-mile-rated 133 kWh battery pack. Configuring a fully loaded truck (sans accessories, such as the Gear Shuttle or Camp Kitchen) with the optional 400-mile-range battery pack and all of the off-road goodies, gets you to about $90,000.
The R1T is a true four-wheel-drive vehicle, with one permanent magnet inboard-mounted motor per wheel, and a combined power output of 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque. There is no transmission or transfer case, but the motors can spin to 18,500 rpm. Using inboard motors allows for sharper steering angles and longer control arms and half shafts for amplified articulation.
Featuring the best riding air suspension we have ever tested, the R1T uses a semi-active and load leveling special air-hydraulic hybrid systems, like the setup you can find on a McLaren 720S but tuned for truck and offroad usage. The system uses monotube shocks with reservoirs and crosslinked hydraulics to simulate a virtual sway bar and it does an excellent job. It has a total adjustment of 6.5 inches. At the maximum ride height, the R1T has almost 15 inches of ground clearance.
Rivian equipped our R1Ts with optional 275/65R20 Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain tires that measure 34.1 inches in height, giving the truck plenty of rubber. Selecting the off-road package adds real tow hooks and a reinforced underbody shield (steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber) that we tested more than once with no issues. The approach angle is an impressive 34 degrees, with break over and departure angles of 25.7 degrees and 29.3 degrees, respectively. Water fording is a substantial 42.7 inches, while payload checks in at a generous 1,700 pounds and towing at an unexpected 11,000 pounds.
Bigger than a midsize, but not quite a full-size, the R1T feels just right, especially for Overlanding. Even its 4.5-footbed is more useable than its size suggests.
Driving The Rivian
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