2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (2024)

2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (1)

By Jared Rosenholtz

Rivian adds a slew of updates, including a Quad-Motor model with 1,000+ horsepower. We tested how quick it gets off the line.

Quick Links

  • Exterior: Subtle Changes
  • Interior: New Ones And Zeros
  • Practicality: Fitting Everything
  • Performance: Quick And Quicker
  • Driving Impressions: Learning From The R1T

Rivian is one of the youngest automakers in the United States, but like Tesla, the all-electric American brand has quickly captured the hearts of consumers with a lineup of rugged and luxurious utility vehicles. There is still some work to do, as evidenced by how many times we hear the question, "Who makes Rivian?." Upcoming lower priced models like the R2 and R3 should help bolster sales, but before those vehicles arrive, Rivian has a big update for its original R1 models.

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CarBuzz flew to Seattle, Washington to get some seat time in the 2025 Rivian R1S, one of two second-generation vehicles on the R1 platform (the R1T pickup truck gets similar updates). Though Rivian calls it a new generation, most legacy automakers would refer to these changes as a major facelift.

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Available Models

Rivian Automotive, Inc. is an American electric vehicle manufacturer launched in 2009 by R.J. Scaringe as Mainstream Motors before being renamed Avera Automotive and, later, Rivian in 2011. Despite initial plans to launch a sports car as its first product, Rivian changed focus to cater to the growing demand for adventure vehicles, launching the R1T and R1S in 2021 and 2022, respectively. As of the beginning of 2024, Rivian has sold a total of 82,572 EVs, with plans to grow this figure rapidly by launching new products like the R2 and R3.

June 2009 (as Mainstream Motors)

R.J. Scaringe

Irvine, California, USA

Owned By
Publicly Traded

Current CEO
R.J. Scaringe

There are some new lights and wheels, changes to the batteries, a more powerful Quad-Motor model, and a new Tri-Motor option. Are these changes enough to keep the R1S appealing to current Rivian owners and attract new buyers who may not even know about the brand? We found out.

First Drive events provide our initial impressions of a vehicle in a restricted environment under certain time constraints. Keep an eye on CarBuzz for our comprehensive Test Drive review which will follow soon.

Exterior: Subtle Changes

You'd have to be very knowledgeable about Rivian products to notice that the 2025 R1S is new on the exterior. In fact, we drove the vehicle around Seattle completely undisguised before it was officially revealed to the public, and only the Rivian forums even noticed it wasn't the outgoing version. Its proportions remain the same.

2025 Rivian R1S Exterior Dimensions vs. Electric Three-Row Rivals





Rivian R1S

200.8 inches

121.1 inches

77.3 inches (max)

87.1 inches

Tesla Model X

199.1 inches

116.7 inches

66.1 inches

89.4 inches

Cadillac Escalade IQ

224.3 inches

136.2 inches

76.1 inches

94.1 inches

Volvo EX90

198.3 inches

117.5 inches

68.8 inches

77.3 inches

The headlights and taillights retain their original iconic shape, but now include RGB LEDs (red, green, and blue) to enable some cool dynamic functions, such as showing the state of charge and displaying a moving orange light to tell vehicles to move around a disabled vehicle, either to the left, the right, or in both directions. Rivian says these lights will open up possible Easter egg modes, such as holiday celebrations or sci-fi homages to Battlestar Galactica Cylons. The new lights also contain Adaptive Drive Beam technology, meaning they can carve out the lights to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. This feature won't be available at launch, but can be enabled via software later this year.

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Other subtle exterior changes include a new set of 22-inch aero wheels, which include a retro-style disc cover to improve range. These discs can be removed to reveal a second wheel pattern that also looks pretty stylish. Buyers can also opt for Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tires on the quad-motor model, or a smaller 20-inch wheel wrapped in a Goodyear Adventure tire for off-roading. An optional blackout package turns the wheels and trims pieces black.

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In order to distinguish the various motor configurations, Rivian added a new color scheme on the exterior. Dual-Motor models have silver brake calipers and accents, the new Tri-Motor gets yellow accents (previously used on the Quad-Motor), and the new Quad-Motor now gets blue accents plus a small Gear Guard badge (Rivian's mascot, named Gary) on the back.

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Interior: New Ones And Zeros

Much like the exterior, the interior changes will only be noticeable for owners who have spent extensive time in the outgoing R1S. Rivian added some new premium interior themes, which include some rad new touches, such as plaid floor mats and subtle plaid touches throughout the cabin. This remains a stunningly appointed cabin, with soft leather, premium woven fabrics, and real wood trim that feels as good as it looks. Heated and ventilated front seats are available, and a 6.8-inch rear screen is standard interior equipment.

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Overall, the interior layout hasn't changed, but there are some new cell-shaded graphics that look like they belong in an issue of Shōnen Jump (that's an anime reference). The 15.6-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch gauge cluster are powered by Epic's Unreal Engine, which is used for many popular video games. Even having never driven a Rivian before, we quickly learned how to navigate the Rivian infotainment system because it's highly intuitive, despite a steep learning curve. Like Tesla, Rivian has no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility, so getting the software right is crucial. Rivian has some new apps, such as built-in Apple Music with Dolby Atmos, which should make the user experience more seamless.

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As before, the R1S packs some unique details, such as a flashlight in the driver's door and a removable Bluetooth speaker in the center tunnel. For 2025, buyers can opt for a glass roof that tints electrically. Rivian only sells the R1S in a single configuration: a seven seater with a second-row bench.

Practicality: Fitting Everything

The second row seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustments and a touchscreen to control music and climate. Getting into the third row can be done with a single button that tips and slides the middle row forward, though the opening to hop in the back is smaller than some rivals. Fitting an adult in the third row comfortably is possible, but it requires second row occupants to slide their seats forward and sacrifice a bit of legroom.

Trunk space is generous, besting both the Kia EV9 and Tesla Model X with up to 105.8 cubic feet. Lifting the second row reduces the space to a still impressive 48.6 cubes, and raising the third row still leaves 17.6 cubic feet with 5.1 additional cubes under the floor. Folding down the second row can be done with buttons in the trunk, while the manual third row can be tricky to raise or lower given how deep it is in the trunk. We'd like to see Rivian offer a powered third row in the future. There's also a nicely sized trunk at the front.

  • 2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (9)
    Rivian R1S

    Headroom Front|Rear
    41.1 | 39.7 | 38.6 inches

    Legrooom Front|Rear
    41.4 | 36.6 | 32.8 inches

    Cargo Space
    Total enclosed storage 105.8 ft³
  • 2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (10)
    Kia EV9

    Headroom Front|Rear
    41.2 | 39.8 | 39.5 inches

    Legrooom Front|Rear
    41.4 | 42.8 | 30.8 inches

    Cargo Space
    20.2 - 81.7 ft³ + 3.2 ft³ (frunk)
  • 2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (11)
    Tesla Model X

    Headroom Front|Rear
    41.7 | 41 | 37.1 inches

    Legrooom Front|Rear
    41.1 | 38.7 | 29.8 inches

    Cargo Space
    13 - 85.1 ft³ + 6.5 ft³ (frunk)

Performance: Quick And Quicker

With the addition of a new Tri-Motor model, there are now technically four ways to configure an R1S for 2025. The dual-motor setup is mostly unchanged, except for a new LFP (Lithium iron phosphate) Standard Pack battery that is cheaper to produce. Even the slowest dual-motor configuration produces 533 horsepower, good for a 0-60 time in 4.5 seconds. Opting for the Dual-Motor Performance model, which requires upgrade to the Large or Max battery pack, dials the output to 665 hp and drops the 0-60 time by more than a second.

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Buyers who crave more speed can now opt for the Tri-Motor, which places a second electric motor at the rear axle. Total output in this configuration is 850 hp - which is more than the outgoing Quad-Motor model, and good for a sub-three-second benchmark sprint. That's supercar territory. The Quad-Motor also returns, now producing a mind-blowing 1,025 hp and 1,198 lb-ft of torque (achieved in Launch Mode) - increases of 190 hp and 195 lb-ft over the outgoing model. 0-60 drops from around three seconds to less than 2.5 seconds. In other words, this three-row SUV can match a Chevy Corvette Z06 to 60 mph. Through the quarter-mile, it needs just 10.6 seconds. What a world we live in.

2025 Rivian R1S Performance Specs

Dual-Motor Standard

Dual-Motor Performance



Power | Torque

533 hp

665 hp

850 hp

1,025 hp


610 lb-ft

823 lb-ft

1,103 lb-ft

up to 1,198 lb-ft

0 - 60

4.5 seconds

3.4 seconds

2.9 seconds

< 2.5 seconds

Max. Towing Capacity

7,700 lbs

7,700 lbs

7,700 lbs

7,700 lbs

We had some time to test the R1S Quad-Motor model on a prepped drag strip, where we recorded a 2.92-second 0-60 time. Though quick, the Rivian engineers believe the R1S was slower because its launch control software wasn't tuned for a sticky prepped surface, but rather normal asphalt.

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Range estimates vary greatly depending on which battery and motor configuration you choose, and it's also affected by wheel size - so be sure to consult the configurator for a more exact number. Rivian says the Dual-Motor Standard battery can go 270 miles on a charge with the new aero wheels, or 258 miles with the ADV tires. The Large Pack improves range significantly, while the Max Pack brings the total range to 380 miles - or up to 410 miles using Conserve Mode, which shuts down the rear motor. Until the Lucid Gravity goes on sale, the R1S is the longest-range electric SUV available today. A 10-80% charge takes 31 to 41 minutes, depending on the battery, adding around 140 miles in 20 minutes.

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Though Rivian doesn't quote any exact improvements, the 2025 R1S boasts a host of changes to improve efficiency. The number of ECUs has been reduced from 17 down to seven, removing over 1.6 miles of wiring from the vehicle, saving over 40 pounds of copper. There is also a new heat-pump, which should improve cold weather performance.

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Driving Impressions: Learning From The R1T

Owners and reviewers agreed that the suspension on the original R1S could use some work, describing it as firm and lacking composure - two attributes that do not apply to the R1T. For 2025, Rivian recalibrated the front and rear spring rates, as well as added new dampers and a hydraulic roll control system to improve ride and handling. Though we had no experience driving the previous R1S, this new model clearly doesn't fit the original description, hinting that Rivian's improvements were successful.

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A soft suspension setting helps the R1S cushion occupants with its air springs, though we actually found this setting to be too loose for highway speeds in Seattle. Dips in the road would cause the R1S to feel floaty, but putting the suspension back into moderate solves the issue. Even still, the R1S's off-road focus doesn't yield the most composed handling on the highway; it's way better than something like a Jeep Wrangler, and closer to something like a Land Rover Defender. Wind noise is noticeable thanks to the Rivian's boxy shape, but it's far from deafening.

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Though off-roading is where the Rivian was built to shine, the R1S loves to tackle winding back roads. Sport mode puts the suspension into its firm setting, which prevents physics from spoiler your fun as a driver. Body roll is shockingly minimal thanks to the hydraulic roll control system and the steering is more communicative than most SUVs, providing a thrilling experience from behind the wheel.

2025 Rivian R1S Off-Roading Specs vs. Rivals

Approach Angle

Ramp Angle

Departure Angle

Ground Clearance

Water Fording

Rivian R1S

35.8 degrees

29.6 degrees

34.4 degrees

14.7 inches

43.2 inches

Land Rover Defender 110

31.2 degrees

22.6 degrees

37.8 degrees

11.5 inches max

35.4 inches

Lexus GX

26 degrees

24 degrees

22 degrees

8.7 inches

27.6 inches

Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Tech

32 degrees

20.3 degrees

30.7 degrees

9.8 inches

33.5 inches

We had a chance to sample the Performance Dual-Motor and Tri-Motor setups on the road, and both are excellent. At no point did the Dual-Motor seem underpowered, and this is the powertrain most people should choose. The Tri-Motor brings the acceleration to absurd levels and allows greater ability to slide the R1S, especially on loose surfaces. No 7,000-pound vehicle should be able to move with this level of agility, and we can't wait to see what Rivian can accomplish with smaller vehicles like the R2 and R3.

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Pricing & Verdict: Greater Than Before

Pricing for th 2025 R1S goes up slightly, now starting at $75,900 for the Dual-Motor Standard Pack (previously $74,900). All things considered, it's not an unfair price for a well-appointed SUV with such impressive capabilities. Upgrading to the Large Pack brings the price to $82,900, while the Max Pack is substantially more expensive at $89,900. We don't have exact range figures for each configuration just yet, but the Large Pack seems like the superior value for $7,000 less. The new Tri-Motor is an expensive proposition at $105,900 (Max Pack for the longest range included), and we personally believe it's unnecessary for most buyers for whom money is a consideration. Rivian hasn't shared pricing for the supercar-rivaling Quad-Motor yet, but we imagine it will be deep into the six figures.

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The R1S doesn't have many direct competitors, since the only other full three-row EVs on the market are the Kia EV9, Volvo EX90, and Tesla Model X, neither of which have any off-road credentials. The upcoming Cadillac Escalade IQ is much larger and has a more luxury focus. Of course, the Model X Plaid should be quicker in a quarter-mile, doing the sprint in under 10 seconds, so if you are purchasing your three-row SUV purely based on its drag racing prowess, Tesla still holds a slight advantage.

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The upcoming Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology should give the Rivian a run for its money in the dirt. In our opinion, the closest competitors to the R1S aren't EVs. We'd cross-shop it with the Land Rover Defender and Lexus GX. However, if you want a rather premium vehicle that can do everything well, and you want an EV, it's Rivian that should get your money.


Related Read

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 With EQ Technology First Look Review: Quad-Motor Gelandewagen Packs AMG Power

The electric G-Class arrives with more power than even the AMG G63 and no sacrifice to its off-roading ability.

Driving the R1S for the first time allowed us to finally experience the hype around Rivian. This brand-new car company has come out of the gate swinging with a vehicle that is equal parts Range Rover rival, rally car, family hauler, and sports car, a combination that shouldn't be possible on paper. The 2025 R1S is among the most compelling SUVs on the market, regardless of which powertrain you choose.

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2025 Rivian R1S First Drive Review: More Power, More Options (2024)
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