2025 Rivian R1S And R1T: Better In Many Small Ways, But Is That Enough? (2024)

The second-generation Rivian R1S and R1T have to help Rivian with three problems. First, the company has to get closer to profitability, both for its own balance sheet and to satisfy impatient investors. Second, it has to keep updating its products to deliver excellent electric adventure vehicles. Third, it has to keep people excited about the flagship R1 products as we wait for the arrival for the smaller, mass-market R2, R3 and R3X that broke the internet upon debut.

For problems one and two, the second-generation R1 is an obvious victory. I’m just not sure Rivian has solved that last one. The new R1T and R1S are spectacular cars. Are they different enough to get people excited?

(Full Disclosure: Rivian provided travel and lodging to Seattle along with other journalists for the First Drive launch of the updated R1T and R1S.)

Gallery: 2025 Rivian R1T and R1S

75 Photos

Base Price $69,900 (R1T); $75,900 (R1S)

Drive Type Dual-Motor, Tri-Motor or Quad-Motor AWD

EV Range Up to 420 miles (R1T, Dual-Motor Max Pack)

Output Up to 1,025 HP (Quad-Motor)

Maximum torque Up to 1,198 lb-ft (Quad-Motor, Launch mode)

Towing 11,000 lbs (R1T), 7,700 lbs (R1S)

Ground clearance Up to 14.7 inches (R1S)

What’s New

Though the R1S and R1T look almost the same as before, there are so many new things under the skin that it’s hard to say which one is most important.

Rivian has changed a ton on the R1 platform, including the batteries, motors, electrical architecture, interior trim, user interface and more, but nothing shines through as the must-have update.

The big change you’ll notice on the spec sheet is the introduction of an upgraded in-house Quad-Motor setup, good for 1,025 horsepower and 1,198 lb-ft of torque in launch control mode. It’ll knock down the 0-60 sprint in 2.5 seconds on its way to a 10.5-second quarter-mile. That’s brutally quick and a big jump over the 835-hp previous-generation Quad-Motor, but I’m not sure the world needed a faster truck. If 835 hp isn’t enough for you, look inward.

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Besides similar upgrades to the familiar Dual-Motor R1 models, there’s also an entirely new Tri-Motor variant now too. The front motors are slightly de-rated in the new models, with more of the torque going to the upsized rear motors. With 850 hp, 1,103 lb-ft of torque and a 2.9-second 0-60 sprint, the Tri-Motor effectively matches the outgoing Quad-Motor, and should hopefully come in at a lower price. Dual-Motor R1s get 533 hp standard and 665 hp with the Performance Pack, itself good for a 3.4-second 0-60 run.

Off-roaders will benefit from the added torque-management capabilities of the Tri- and Quad-Motor configurations, but I wouldn’t recommend buying them for speed alone. That Performance Dual-Motor is faster than any truck needs to be. Ride and handling have also been retuned for better on-road comfort.

The truth is that these were already two of the best large EVs on the market, though, and needed few improvements. Charge times from 10-80% are all still between 30 and 41 minutes depending on the pack, and like all R1s the new ones can charge at Tesla Superchargers with an adapter. Native support for the North American Charging Standard (NACS) will not come until the R2 launches in 2026.

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All variants benefit from revised battery packs, which combined with the new motors and a standard heat pump mean slight increases in range and efficiency. Rivian claims a top range of 420 miles for trucks with the Max Pack, a 10-mile improvement over the outgoing model. The big news is the use of Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP) chemistry for the base Dual-Motor car. LFP batteries are less power-dense than Lithium Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM) batteries, but don’t get hurt by being charged to 100%, are less prone to fire and thermal runaway events, require fewer precious metals to produce and—most importantly—cost way less than NCM packs. They’re big in China for that reason.

Yet that’s not the only cost-saving measure. Rivian has drastically simplified the electrical architecture of the R1 platform, reducing the number of Electronic Control Units (ECUs)—the brains that control a car’s various sub-systems—from 17 down to seven.

Instead of routing each component a “domain-specific” ECU (i.e. one for suspension control, one for lighting, etc) which involves a lot of wires crisscrossing the whole vehicle, each system is now typically controlled by the nearest ECU. This is a novel approach, one that Rivian says saves 1.6 miles of wiring and 44 lbs of copper compared to the outgoing model. That drives down production costs, bringing the R1T and R1S closer to profitability. It also reduces parts counts and failure points, which should hopefully improve quality and reliability, a key thing the brand needs to get right before the launch of more mass-market models.

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Automated driving assistance, too, will be a focus for the brand going forward. The second-generation R1T and R1S get a new NVIDIA-powered software stack, with 10 times the computing power of the first-generation car. It’s assisted by 5 radars and 11 cameras, one of which is new and all of which benefit from improved dynamic range and resolution. Rivian says new enhanced highway-assisted driving is on the way. That should help you relax in a slightly updated interior, with new color options, an electronically-tinting roof and more soft-touch materials throughout.

Finally, there are UI and software tweaks that should also come to earlier R1S and R1T models. These include adorable new sketch-style 3D graphics for things like drive-mode selection; a new font that should be unified across Rivian software, branding, spaces and apps; a simplified gauge cluster; Google Cast support and a new “Connect+” subscription service.

Connect+ gives you access to Google Cast, Apple Music’s full catalog of music and Dolby Atmos surround sound support. Rivian has also added phone-as-a-key functionality, which works with iPhones, Apple Watches, Google Pixels and Google Pixel Watches.

Does It Feel New?

I had not driven a Rivian before the Seattle event, so bear in mind that I was coming in fresh. Even still, the first-generation R1S I rode in from the airport and the second-generation R1S I drove to DirtFish looked and felt extremely similar. All of the improvements listed above are notable in their breadth, but hard to notice from the driver’s seat.

For instance, though Rivian touts an ADAS computing stack that’s far more sophisticated than the outgoing model, new features won’t come until later. For now, the only sign of what Rivian claims are “the most megapixels of camera vision you can get on any electric vehicle” is that the car’s built-in ADAS visualization now shows cars detected on the side of the vehicle, not in front of or behind it.

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The exception here is the ride quality in the R1S. Though I haven’t personally driven an R1S, it’s not hard to find forum posts, owners or reviewers complaining about the suspension in the first-gen car. Rivian apparently made few if any changes to the R1T’s suspension when it built the R1S, despite the SUV’s far shorter wheelbase and different weight distribution, resulting in lousy body control and a bouncy ride. That problem has been solved.

“It feels like a totally different car,” InsideEVs contributing editor and Rivian owner Tom Moloughney, also at the drive event, told me. “Night and day."

I can’t compare them directly, but I think the new R1S rides beautifully. It has more small vibrations than a Range Rover or BMW X7, but it’s smooth over big bumps and would be perfectly comfortable for an all-day drive.

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2025 Rivian R1 EVs63

2025 Rivian R1S And R1T: Better In Many Small Ways, But Is That Enough? (14)

2025 Rivian R1 dashboard woof finish 2

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2025 Rivian R1 infotainment

The new sound system is also nice, as is the new UI. The Quad-Motor is certainly faster. Yet besides that, it’s more of the same from the R1. That’s fine, as the R1 is already a beloved and fantastic product. But reducing the weight of the wiring harness doesn’t exactly revolutionize the driving experience, and all of the new driver assistance upgrades Rivian says are coming—including lane change on command and a vague “Enhanced Highway Assist” that offers a “more relaxed driving experience, providing ample notice for when to take over”—are not coming until later this year, and were not available for our evaluation.

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Is It A Better EV?

R1T and R1S base models with the small LFP pack still get 270 miles of range, while Max-Pack versions get up to 420 miles and 410 miles of range, respectively. That’s a 10-mile improvement at the top end for both, with Rivian claiming that the R1S is the longest-range EV SUV on the market. That’ll be true until the Lucid Gravity launches later this year.

The only major improvement is a reduction in “Phantom Drain,” a perennial problem on current R1s. Phantom drain saps battery charge when the vehicle is “off.” Rivian says this was caused by the infotainment (and Gear Guard) system activating the infotainment system, causing the 12-volt battery to drain. When it drained, topping it off required turning basically the whole car on, leading to power cycles that depleted the high-voltage battery. Rivian says the new one “floats” the 12-volt at all times to keep it topped off without requiring a full system start-up, which the brand says should eliminate large phantom drain issues.

How’s The Performance?

I drove the revised R1S on the road, through a low-speed off-road course, around a short, muddy rally course and on a drag strip. In every environment, the R1S was exceptional. Though I didn’t drive the pickup variant off-road, it seemed to do just as well, and it was already the better-driving variant before the substantive gen-two upgrades.

In low-speed off-roading, the R1S was undramatic. It powered through two feet of standing water without much thought. Rivian claims a maximum fording depth of 43.2 inches for the R1S (43.1 for the R1T), thanks to 14.7/14.6 inches of ground clearance, respectively.

I can’t think of another factory off-roader ever built that can withstand three and a half feet of water.

On the other side of the puddle, the R1S hopped over a slick hill, unabated by a heavy dip that sent one wheel plunging. Hard-core off-roaders who rock crawl for fun may find some fault for it. If you’re an adventurist who just wants to be able to handle a gnarly trail en route to the campsite, the R1S and R1T are up for whatever you’ll find.

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You’d never know it on road, though, as both are quieter and more livable than the outgoing models. Ride quality in either truck is luxurious, though still a tick more truckish than the best unibody SUVs. Both vehicles handle great, masking their considerable curb weights.

Finally, the quad-motor variants of both are scary fast. Rivian set us loose on a “prepped” drag strip—one sprayed with a sticky resin substance that gives drag tires better grip. Rivian engineers claim that the truck is faster on standard tarmac, as road tires aren’t built for prepped strips and the traction control system is designed for pavement. Still, I was able to get repeated sub-3-second 0-60 times in the R1T and saw times as low as 3.05 seconds for the R1S. In the R1S, I ran a 10.9 quarter-mile. That’s faster than a Ferrari Enzo. God help anyone that rolls up next to you at a set of lights.

Yet there’s a far more fun way to enjoy the R1’s power. A fast 0-60 time is great, but you’ll do it twice to show off to your friends and then likely retire to prevent snapping your own neck. If you want some real fun, find a muddy patch and enable rally mode. On a tight rally course, I got to slide the Tri-Motor in Rally and Drift Mode.

In either mode, with stability control reduced or off, the R1 was happy to kick its tail out and do big, messy slides, so long as you were willing to work the wheel quickly. No truck is more fun or engaging when the going gets muddy.

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Is It A Better Value?

Not exactly, but that’s the point. Pricing still starts at $69,900 for the R1T before destination. Pricing for the base R1S is up $1000 to $75,900. Trims are simplified. You can get the Dual-Motor exclusively in base “Adventure” Trim with the Standard, Large or Max Battery Pack. Tri- and Quad-Motor variants come exclusively as “Ascend” top-trim models, with the giant Max Pack as the only battery option. Pricing for the Tri-Motor starts at $99,900 for the R1T and $105,900. That’s more expensive than the previous Quad-Motor, but it also gets the largest battery—unavailable on previous Quads—and better performance.

Rivian has walked a fine line here. The second-generation R1 is a better car for a similar price, but the real value is for the company. It’s lowered production costs while keeping prices roughly flat, getting it closer to profitability.

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Early Verdict

That’s a win for the company, which needs to convince the world that it’s on its way to long-term profitability. The upgrades are also a win for customers, as the new R1S and R1T are better than ever.

If you’ve ever wanted an R1T or R1S, there’s never been a better time to buy. It’s more comfortable, more efficient, more sophisticated and faster. They’re great daily drivers, great off-roaders and great performers. They’re the two most compelling EVs for people like me, who like to camp, surf, climb and generally spend as much time outdoors as possible.

But if you couldn’t afford the last one, you can’t afford this one. If you weren’t excited about the last one, you won’t be excited about this one. And if you already have an R1T or R1S, you won’t really need to upgrade, unless you hate the ride quality of your R1S.

To expand its slice of the market, Rivian needs to keep getting new people excited about the brand. More awareness and a more well-rounded product will certainly help. But an ever-expanding EV market demands something new, something wholly unique to break the existing mold. The second-generation Rivian R1 isn’t that. But maybe the R1X will be.

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2025 Rivian R1T front three quarter 2

Contact the author: mack.hogan@insideevs.com

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2025 Rivian R1S And R1T: Better In Many Small Ways, But Is That Enough? (2024)
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