Rivian R1T Owner Reflects On His First Two Years With The Truck

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

Jose Castillo from the YouTube channel RivianTrackr has been the proud owner of a quad-motor Rivian R1T since spring 2022. With May being his two-year ownership anniversary, he thought it would be helpful for prospective buyers to know what to expect from the automaker and the truck itself.   

Buying any vehicle in its first model year can be fraught with danger, and Jose’s was one of the first 4,000 Rivians on the road. But if you like living on the edge, then being one of the first owners of the first model from a brand new automaker might be the riskiest move of all. Just ask any Fisker Ocean driver what could possibly go wrong. 

But Jose felt comfortable knowing he was in close proximity to one of the first Rivian Service Centers in central Florida. So he at least knew that if anything went wrong with this early production R1T, he would not need to drive hundreds of miles for repair or warranty work. 

Luckily, the truck has been very reliable thus far, although it has been to the service center more than once. The truck’s only major problem so far came from a known issue with the HVAC system. This was fixed under warranty, and no other significant work has been needed since then. Rivian Technical Support quickly solved other minor technical hiccups. Of course, not all Rivian owners have had such great experiences, especially those where the nearest service is out of state. 

Since he and his wife work from home, they are a one-car family. Before the R1T, Jose drove a 2020 Tesla Model Y LR. The Model Y was a car they loved and was mostly trouble-free, but they had a few issues with it that were never resolved.

The most frequent annoyance with the Model Y was a constant rattling in the passenger door while driving. “I took it into Tesla multiple times. They told me they fixed it! But boy, they never did.” He ended up having to make a DIY fix to reduce the noise. 

On the Rivian, early on, the truck’s front shafts creaked, but this has since been remedied via a recall. Jose has not experienced any distracting creaks or rattles since then. Jose feels the Rivian’s build quality is higher than his previous Tesla. He is also paying slightly less to insure his R1T than he was to insure the Model Y. 

Due to its size and versatility, they also prefer the utility of the R1T. With the Model Y, they rarely ever used the vehicle’s frunk. Because the front trunk was not powered and quite small, it was less convenient than the hatch when loading groceries, luggage, bags, etc.

However, with the R1T, the couple finds themselves using the frunk all the time. It is powered and has nearly three times the capacity of the Model Y’s. “You can put so much in there,” He explains. “I know people out there who go ‘Oh no one uses the front trunk of their EVs’ (but) I call B.S. on that. I love my front trunk.”

The opposite is true of the gear tunnel, which he uses less than expected. Still, it is great for trips to the beach, being an easy-to-clean storage spot for umbrellas, chairs, towels, sandals, and other sandy accessories.

2022 Rivian R1T: Gear tunnel

He had one concern about switching from the Tesla to Rivian: losing access to Tesla’s Supercharger network when traveling. Thankfully, using non-Tesla charging networks was not a big issue and problems were infrequent. But issues came just often enough to cause real anxiety. 

“Most of the time, it was just being concerned ‘Oh my god, am I going to have to wait? Will this charger work? Is it going to be derated?’ (…) But then you got there, and you charged, and it was fine.” Still, Jose prefers Tesla’s network. So now that Rivian owners have access, he prioritizes charging at Superchargers over ones like Chargepoint and Electrify America. 

One area where Rivian excels is in the range estimates. “Rivian has really stepped up their game. Their guess-o-meter has gotten good at pretty accurately predicting your range when you arrive.” He says that the current Rivian software starts each trip with a pretty conservative estimate rather than an optimistic one, then adjusts as you drive. He will frequently arrive at his destination with much more mileage than the truck estimated initially.

On the flip side, the phone unlocking can sometimes be unreliable. While it has improved over time, connectivity failures still pop up at the most inconvenient times when you’re in a hurry, carrying heavy objects or standing in the rain. This is a flaw shared with his previous vehicle, the Model Y. 

While Jose went with the quad-motor and loves its off-road performance, he says it is overkill for most buyers. “The dual-motor variant is phenomenal (…) I think the dual-motor variant is the best choice for 95% of owners, but I love the quad-motor.” 

rivian r1t off road

His only major regret is with the interior and exterior color. By taking delivery earlier than originally scheduled, he was limited in his interior and exterior options, going with black paint and a black interior. So, he recently covered the truck in the satin red wrap seen in the video.

“I really got tired of black. Black is really hard to maintain as a color.” If he were to do it again, he would likely go for Rivian Blue or Compass Yellow with the Ocean Coast interior. 

It’s always interesting to hear from owners about their specific use cases and what they like and dislike about a vehicle. Check out the full video if you’re considering adding a Rivian to your family fleet. And if you’re a Rivian R1T driver, does Jose’s experience match up with your own? Let us know in the comments below.

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