We’ll get to technical stuff later though, because we should start with the design of this SUV. It’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the truck and SUV from the front. Both have the distinctive vertical oval headlights with the LED DRL running across the whole bow. Move to the side, and it’s clear Rivian was going for a boxy look with an off-road capable flavor. Somehow it’s able to pull off this “tough truck” persona while still having an air of luxury — the silver trim wrapping all the way around the roof and into the body is a nice touch. The unusual front light arrangement is growing on us, although it definitely looks more at home on this vehicle than the R1T pickup.
Interior styling is identical to the truck as well, but the SUV seats seven to the pickup’s five. From what we can tell, the floor looks entirely flat, which should lend itself to some impressive passenger room. The same digital display dash and instrument cluster layout gets carried over from the truck, and the rugged materials do too. A roof and more storage space take the place of the bed and tailgate, but the SUV features a tailgate as well. Rivian decided to go with a combination liftgate and tailgate like the BMW X5 or Range Rover has, to allow people a place to sit. Both the second and third rows fold flat to allow for a ton of extra storage space inside the R1S.
Zero to 60 mph arrives in a ridiculous three seconds. The highest power figures actually come from the middle-sized battery pack with 754 horsepower and 826 pound-feet of torque, from the combined output of four electric motors, one for each wheel. Just like the truck, this allows the Rivian to independently distribute torque to each wheel, making it an incredibly competent off-roader.
Rivian also claims great on-road handling due to its fully independent suspension at all four corners. An air suspension system allows for real time adjustments in ride quality and ride height. Towing is limited to 7,716 pounds, which is a step back from the truck’s 11,000 pound rating, but still pretty good. Overall range is a step above the truck too. Rivian claims the 180 kWh version will get at least 410 miles of range. From there, the 135 kWh version can go about 310 miles and the 105 kWh goes 240 miles. All those figures are 10 more miles each than what the truck can do, which is most likely just a factor of aerodynamics.
Level three autonomous driving will be standard for all Rivian vehicles, including the R1S. Both the truck and SUV will use a combination of lidar, radar, ultrasonic and GPS to make that possible. This ability allows Rivian to include all the normal active driver assistance features on many new cars today. Rivian also says it expects its cars to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus recipient and receive a 5-Star NHTSA crash test rating.
Keep in mind the truck is a good bit larger than the Rivian SUV. Overall length drops about 15 inches and the wheelbase is shortened a similar amount on the closed roof vehicle. For reference, this SUV is about the same exact length as a Ford Explorer. It will be expensive, though. The R1S is slated to start at $72,500 for the smallest battery pack version. However, you’ll only be able to buy the large battery pack versions at the beginning, which will bring the price well above $90,000, according to Rivian’s estimates. You’re able to reserve either a truck or SUV now for a refundable deposit of $1,000. Rivian says it expects to start shipping vehicles to customers sometime in 2020.