MotorTrend Calls Electric Rivian the “Most Remarkable Pickup We’ve Ever Driven” in First Official Review

Coming from a 70-year-old car magazine, that’s a big deal

The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck shown from the rear driving over a rocky dirt hill at sunset
The first official review of Rivian's electric R1T is in. It's glowing.

In the 12 years since Rivian was founded, the electric vehicle startup has positioned itself as the first real Tesla competitor, with a wunderkind leader in R.J. Scaringe, huge financial investment from companies like Amazon and T. Rowe Price, and EVs that can appeal to the masses in their R1T truck and R1S SUV. Now, it seems that it’s not only Tesla who should be worried, but today’s gas-powered pickup leaders like Ford, Chevy, Ram and Toyota. 

In the first official review of the Rivian R1T, 72-year-old car magazine MotorTrend called it “the most remarkable pickup [they’ve] ever driven.” The coverage, which includes a written review and videos breaking down the driving experience and interior, is almost absurdly positive, especially for a brand-new automaker releasing its first vehicle; the biggest faults MotorTrend found are in the infotainment system and lack of cupholders. 

“It’s been speculated that pickup buyers are too conservative to embrace electrification,” MotorTrend writes, “but after our first drive in a pre-production Rivian R1T, both on-road and off-, we think this is the electric truck that will turn them into believers.”

Yes, the vehicle they drove is a pre-production model, so there are not set-in-stone specs to go off of just yet. And while it’s not uncommon for car writers to pen their reviews pieces based off of pre-production vehicles, it should be noted that Rivian’s truck and SUV have been delayed multiple times. When MotorTrend says that the R1T is “the first mass-produced electric truck to hit the U.S. market,” they’re not telling you the whole truth, because Rivian actually hasn’t publicly announced a date for when they will begin deliveries of production trucks; they’re just hoping it happens sometime in September.

But we will eventually see the R1T in the wild, and when we do MotorTrend has a feeling reservation holders and sidewalk onlookers will be impressed. Some of the testing team’s favorite aspects include the four-motor, four-wheel-drive system (which offers “remarkable agility on- or off-road”), the various driving modes (including Conserve, which converts it to front-wheel drive to save on battery range, which is estimated at 300 miles), and the height-adjustable air suspension (that supposedly allows it “to tip-toe over obstacles that might give even a Jeep Wrangler pause”). 

“It hauls and tackles difficult terrain as well as or better than internal combustion pickups,” they add, “and its combination of on-pavement handling prowess and off-road finesse is simply unmatched in any other current truck.”

High praise, indeed. Now all we need is for the company to finalize the trucks and get them out to customers. We’ve reached out to Rivian and will update when that actually happens. 

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