If Jeep won’t build the slab-sided Grand Wagoneer of the 21st century, than a US upstart called Rivian will, and with some style… Even if they forgot the wood panelling…
Are you bored of all the Range Rovers yet? If you answered yes, then a company in Michigan called Rivian is going after your wallet, with a convincing alternative to the staid world of the contemporary lifestyle SUV.
Right away, we have to admit the Rivian R1S SUV looks rather good, a bit like a 1980’s Jeep Grand Wagonner from an alternate universe, thanks to those short overhangs, slab sided profile, and chunky wheels under cladded arches. Of course it wasn’t hard to make it look good because Rivian uses a ‘skateboard’ platform packaging pretty much everything including the battery, motors, suspension and brakes below the height of the wheels, leaving the designers with basically a clean sheet to work with above that line.
Not to say that Rivian seems to have compromised for looks – available in three guises, you can have a fast one, a stupid fast one, and an outrageously fast one, because the four-motor all-wheel drive system puts down up to 1,120Nm of torque and over 750 horsepower. That makes the Lamborghini Urus and its paltry 650bhp look pretty lame.
It’s not all that surprising, then, that despite weighing nearly 2.7-tonnes the Rivian R1S can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in three seconds dead, although you won’t get much of the quoted 640km driving range booting it everywhere like that.
You also really have to watch where you’re going in something like a Rivian, because this zero-emissions SUV is about the size of a frigate – at 5,474mm long the seven-seater is bigger than a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, with a longer wheelbase too. And although personally we wouldn’t try it, the Michigan manufacturer says the R1S will ford up to a metre of water.
Rivian says the SUV, as well as a pick-up version with a frunk (cargo space in the front), will go into production as 2021 models going on sale in late 2020, with prices in the US starting from $72,500, which is about AED270,000.