I drove the Rivian R1T truck. It is essentially the most adventurous EV but.

As a left coast urbanite, I am not precisely what you’d name a truck man. (Fifteen to twenty mpg when the world is warming and fuel is pushing $5 a gallon? No thanks.) However I am positively an electrical automobile man (most just lately whereas testing the Lucid Air) and a self-sufficient tenting out within the components sort of man (together with at a dozen Burning Mans). So whereas I used to be cautious about my first ever truck drive being an off-road take a look at of the Rivian R1T — an electrical truck now delivery to early prospects in its $73,000 launch version and garnering nice critiques alongside the way in which — I additionally seized the chance prefer it was an outsized steering wheel.

Good factor I did, as a result of the R1T simply shot to the highest of my listing of dream autos. Seems that vehicles are a blast to drive, particularly once they’re studded with 10 cameras feeding to a 16-inch display that may aid you navigate even the muddiest downhill furrows. Seems that while you take mpg worries and vary nervousness out of the equation (the R1T launch version will get 314 miles to a cost, which places it in the identical vary as a Tesla Mannequin 3; the corporate is promising a 400+ mile model in 2022), off-roading and tenting grow to be far more doable for the eco-conscious urbanite.

As lots of the critiques have famous, Rivian appears to be promoting its launch automobile as a sort of “Patagonia” or an “REI” truck. However that is not simply advertising bluster. It truly is supremely straightforward, if not low-cost, to pop up a tent on prime of the truck, both on the flatbed or the roof, with a few crossbars at $450 every. Simply add some well-staked-down shade, and you have got the right Burning Man truck tenting setup.

The Rivian R1T in full tent tenting and cooking mode.
Credit score: chris taylor / mashable

The $5,000 “camp kitchen” attachment can also be non-obligatory, however Rivian has carried out its degree finest to make it fascinating. The entire plates, bowls, cutlery, and gear you want for a cookout — together with the important espresso pot — are secreted in well-designed drawers. A few induction stoves can cook dinner for hours and nonetheless not deplete the automobile battery by greater than a single mile of vary. And the entire thing slides right into a sort of donut gap storage space in the course of the automobile that is additionally accessible from the rear of the cabin. Which, along with the frunk and the flatbed itself, give the R1T a formidable 68 cubic ft of storage.

To ensure I wasn’t simply being dazzled by my intro to truck tenting world, I introduced alongside my good friend Larry, who’s a truck man. (He as soon as went to Colorado to get a selected choices package deal on his Ford F-150 despite the fact that he’d need to drive it again to California — that sort of truck man.) Furthermore, Larry is pondering of changing that F-150, the preferred fuel automobile in America, with an electrical truck. He is prime Rivian demographic, and has been eyeing the R1T for a while — but additionally would possibly maintain out for the F-150 Lightning, the Ford EV set to launch in 2022. Would the R1T flip his head?

When it got here to off-roading, the reply was a really clear sure. The phrase Larry stored returning to was “nimble.” The R1T, smaller and lighter and with higher suspension than the F-150, was merely extra enjoyable to navigate round curves (together with at some roller-coaster-like 20-degree angles) and up and down hills.

In the meantime, the encompass sound system was in a position to deal with a completely acceptable Queen soundtrack with out smothering us in an excessive amount of bass.

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Eat our mud: The Rivian R1T after a zero-to-60 uphill take a look at.
Credit score: larry edelstein / mashable

Larry did be aware that the cabin of the R1T was merely not as comfy as its Ford counterpart. Having simply pushed an hour with the F-150 seats massaging our backs and butts, I used to be inclined to agree. It isn’t that it felt smaller; if something, the flat tinted glass roof made the cabin really feel extra spacious than it’s (simply because the extra curved glass roof within the Lucid Air does). However the consolation of the seating, dinged by some reviewers for not standing as much as the calls for of long-distance driving, jogged my memory extra of the flimsy Chevy Bolt than the well-designed Lucid seating expertise.

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Nonetheless, that wasn’t the characteristic that turned Larry off the R1T for now. It is the truth that Rivian does not present Apple CarPlay, which has grow to be indispensable to him due to its inclusion on the F-150. It additionally does not provide Android Auto. That is virtually definitely as a result of Amazon is an investor, and the R1T comes with Alexa integration. The truck’s software program interface is a bit on the complicated facet, although firm reps had been anxious to remind us that it might be quickly up to date over the air. However not delivery with the 2 hottest automobile techniques for the 2 hottest kinds of smartphone looks like an unforced error.

Regardless, the R1T ought to flip quite a lot of heads amongst urbanites trying to unleash their inside adventurer. With the F-150 Lightning and Tesla’s Cybertruck occurring sale in 2022 (allegedly beginning at $42K and $40K, respectively), we could also be about to enter a golden age of blue-state truck fans, and intense competitors between the three fashions that may solely profit the buyer. However in the event you simply cannot wait to get your camp on, the cookout-friendly and nimble Rivian truck is your finest wager but.

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