The Good and the Bad of Rivian R1T Off-Road – I’m Doug Demuro, and today I’m going to talk about off-roading the rivian r1t.
I recently reviewed the rivian truck, but I also did some pretty legit off-roading with it, and there were some good things and some not so good things, and today I’m going to tell you all about it.
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It’s kind of pitched as capable at everything it’s like a family vehicle because it has five seats and is fairly luxurious, it’s a pickup truck because it has a bed and can tow, and it’s kind of a performance car with over 800 horsepower and 0-60 in three seconds, but it’s also an off-roader riven says it has up to 15 inches of ground clearance which is pretty impressive, and it has motors at all f levels.
Okay, so the trip starts out east of San Diego, where I live, on a sort of off-road trail, and at first it’s just a dirt road, which obviously the riven can’t do anything about, but there are some spur trails off this dirt road that are like steep hills with a little bit of obstacles, and you can take the rivian up there and it does well as you can see it climbs it, but this isn’t really all that technical, a lot of forget about it so we moved on and continued and then we did like another little spur trail as you can see like it going up a steep hill but in my mind I just had that rocky mountain I was thinking about it and by this point I had started to kind of convince my friends to tell me what I wanted to hear which was that yeah let’s give the rocky hill a chance let’s see what we can do so we go back to the hill and we get started now I start up a particular line of the hill and in just the first 10 seconds I had I thought I had made an absolutely terrible mistake um it was having a lot of trouble getting up it was spinning the tires considerably and it looked like it just wasn’t gonna happen so I backed up uh on this trail and i’m sitting there kind of anxious and a guy pulls up in like a built 80 series toyota land cruiser like fantastically modified lifted lockers ever all the gear it looked incredible and I said to him I said hey you know can your truck make it up this thing I wanted some reassurance and he goes i’ve never tried that scares me that’s like oh great like this dude is like a serious off-roader with a serious off-road vehicle and he’s not willing to risk it and i’m trying to do it in this you know rivien this new truck but I said hey you know whatever i’ll give it a shot and see what what happens and the landcruiser guy literally says to me he’s like i’m gonna stick around for this he thought I was gonna damage it and I was gonna get stuck and it was gonna be a disaster so I went for it and I started up a particular line and it just kept going and I was anxious and there were times I thought it would get stuck but it never did and it just powered through now I can’t explain to you how terrifying this actually is there’s huge rocks everywhere and this trail had some really really big ones and i’m perpetually afraid that i’m going to damage this truck um where there are no replacement parts for because it’s brand new and it’s really heavy and so trying to get it like pulled out of there would be really challenging if not completely impossible and so if I break down or damage the truck I have just screwed so i’m just terrified but I kind of pressed on and pressed on and the rivian just kept going over stuff and doing well so I make it about halfway up the trail and I say to myself all right i’ve proven that I can like if I can make it halfway clearly I can make it the rest of the way i’m just going to stop and back up but by this point my friends were getting into it they were like yeah you made it this far you got to go the whole way you got to go to the top and i’m like oh god this is scary so they egged me on and obviously convinced me in the end to continue which I did and the ribbon kept going and going over these rocks and these boulders and eventually it did it and it made it up to the top of the hill so anyway I get to the top and there’s this beautiful view over this whole area very serene everyone else is down at the bottom very peaceful up here uh but I didn’t get to enjoy any of it because now i’m sitting there thinking I gotta get this down now usually that’s the easy part when you’re off-roading but there was a big thing that I was anxious about specifically the ribbian’s weight it is incredibly heavy vehicle 6 000 pounds and i’m sitting up there thinking this is a very steep hill and i’m gonna have to take it very slowly and carefully to maneuver around everything which means a lot of time riding the brakes and so I was very nervous that I would overheat the brakes given that they’re going to kind of have to be just barely inching along and keeping this massive vehicle stopped going down a very steep hill but I had no choice I set off and I started to go you’re good fight and once again the rivian started to handle it I had some good guidance from a friend who was there to kind of steer me around the big boulders and let me know where to go on the the ruts that were kind of scary and keep the car off balance and it just went down and I was riding the brakes but it handled it and it and it continued and at the end of all that the rivian made it all the way down and that is the greatest feeling in the world knowing you didn’t damage anything and you’re not gonna have to have some multi-day recovery and I gotta say when I got to the bottom there were several groups of off-roaders down there who were saying i’ve tried this i’ve got stuck i’ve been too afraid to try this hill i’ve never done it but the rivian did it completely stock unmodified just put its high suspension height with some air out of the tires that was it and it made it up and down this like daunting steep rocky hill which was really impressive and terrifying and proved that it was very capable but with that said it isn’t perfect so now i’m going to go over some of the benefits and some of the drawbacks of off-roading the rhythm and i’m going to start with the drawbacks first one is something we noticed very beginning of this off-roading adventure there is no tire pressure monitor in the rivian that shows you the tire pressures at each wheel and if you’re a big off-roader you’ll know why this is important you’ve got to air down when you’re going off-roading especially in rocky terrain because a fully inflated tire can easily catch on a sharp rock and get punctured and also you just want a larger contact patch with the ground but the rivien doesn’t actually tell you what your pressures are to each tire so you have to manually measure it this isn’t a big deal jeep people have been doing it for years but a car as technologically advanced as the rivian should have this so many vehicles now do measure your tire pressure at each wheel and it’s disappointing that the rivian didn’t next up another off-roading feature that most other off-roaders now have that the rivian doesn’t is hill descent control so this is like almost like a cruise control system that will automatically keep the car at a certain pace so you don’t have to ride your brakes terrifyingly when you’re going down a hill and a lot of off-roaders have this now and a lot of frankly pretend off-roaders even have it but the ribbian doesn’t and given the size of this vehicle it would be nice when you’re going down a steep off-roading hill or trail if the car could kind of automatically give the brake pressure you need rather than you riding the brakes the whole time and potentially overheating them next up another drawback of the rivian off-road The camera system is really bad, as I mentioned in my review, the camera resolution is bad, but when you get out on the trails almost all off-roaders now have these amazing camera systems that show every corner so you can see if you’re about to roll over something and they do it with great resolution and precision, not the rivian the camera system doesn’t have that many angles, it doesn’t work that well, and the resolution isn’t that good.
Even that quarter second transfer between the gas and the brakes you’ve got six thousand pounds kind of leaning on a rock or something and it’ll shift and it’s terrifying that’s a terrifying feeling in a normal off-roader which weighs 3 500 pounds but in a vehicle that’s double that weight that’s a really terrifying feeling the rivian needs a heel hold feature so that when you come to a stop like that it keeps it locked so you can switch from break to Rivien could have done this, but they chose all-terrain tires for more capability, sacrificing some range for off-roading prowess, and frankly it was worth it because they work really well.
The last cool benefit of off-roading the rivian is that once you’re done climbing and rock crawling and outshining all these jeeps, you can go out and race a ferrari and win it’s insane it has the capability.
It is a superb off-roader, not just a decent one, and I am an off-roader aficionado.
I have an ancient land rover, a mercedes g-wagon that is quite competent, a new land rover defender, a hummer, and I’ve off-roaded Toyota land cruisers, and the rhythm is up there with the best of them.
It could need several off-roader upgrades, including some obvious ones as I said hill descent control most off-roaders have this hill hold a lot of them have that a tire gauge built in a better camera system