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Auto review: Rivian R1T: The first electric full-size pickup has a cartoon guardian, 800-plus hp

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

The Rivian R1T, the first electric full-size pickup, just went on sale, and it's clearly ready to challenge luxury vehicles like Land Rovers, with head-snapping power and eye-popping technology. Priced starting at $73,000, the R1T makes no pretense of competing with upcoming mass market electric pickups like the Ford F-150 Lightning that arrives next year, but it sets up an intriguing comparison for the more powerful, expensive and flamboyant GMC Hummer EV arriving later this year.

Rivian, a startup automaker that will also have electric Amazon delivery vans on the road in time for the holidays, builds the R1T in Normal, Illinois, site of a former Chrysler and Mitsubishi assembly plant the company acquired and retooled. Rivian also plans to produce the R1S, a luxury SUV, next year.

Rivian once had an agreement to build a Lincoln EV with Ford, which owns stock in the smaller company. That plan dissolved. It's not clear what will come of the relationship.

I recently took an all-wheel-drive R1T for a short test drive near the company's Plymouth tech center, and I can't wait for a longer drive. It's comfortable, quiet, fast and loaded with features owners are likely to love.

It's everything Tesla's delayed Cyber truck aspires to be, with the added benefits of being available now and looking like a pickup, not an origami crane left out in the rain.

The Rivian R1T model line:

 

—Launch Edition - $73,000, available now. Sold out

—Adventure - $73,000, available January 2022

—Explore - $67,500, available January 2022

Driving impressions

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