MotorTrend announced today that the all-electric Rivian R1T has been named the 2022 MotorTrend Truck of the Year. As the first mass-produced electric truck to hit the U.S. market, the Rivian R1T would win praise if it were merely a credible pickup truck, but it’s proven to be far more.
Rivian re-examined what a modern pickup could be and the result is the most remarkable truck MotorTrend has ever driven, making it arguably the worthiest recipient of the “Golden Calipers” in recent history.
“MotorTrend’s 2022 Truck of the Year announcement may be our most significant since 1949,” said MotorTrend Group Head of Editorial, Ed Loh. “The Rivian R1T is a monumental achievement and astonishes with a quality of design, engineering, materials, and technology unmatched in trucks today, while providing a driving experience like that of a high-performance luxury car. As the first all-electric pickup truck to market, the R1T manages to achieve all of this without offending historic truck-buyer sensibilities. For these reasons and more, MotorTrend is honored to name the Rivian R1T our 2022 Truck of the Year.”
The Rivian R1T was judged the 2022 Truck of the Year by excelling in each of MotorTrend’s six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function. In doing so, Rivian delicately balanced a modern, minimalist EV aesthetic with the quality of materials its price point demands and the functional requirements of a “true” pickup truck.
The technical sophistication of Rivian’s electric drivetrain is unparalleled, as the R1T is the first production vehicle to bring to market the concept of individual motors for each wheel and the traction and stability advantages they provide, underscoring its engineering excellence. On a winding road, the R1T’s instantaneous torque vectoring makes it handle better than any other pickup on the market and more like a high-performance luxury car. Off-road, it digs through sand, sloshes through mud, and climbs over rocks as well as a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, but with better ground clearance, breakover angle, and departure angle.
Remarkably, at no point did Rivian cut back on the truck’s ability to do work: At 1,764 pounds of payload, it falls squarely between the best midsize truck and entry-level full-size truck, just like the R1T’s dimensions. Its 11,000-pound towing capacity is on par with today’s top full-size trucks, and its stability, acceleration, and braking while towing up to 9,000 pounds in MotorTrend’s testing are unimpeachable. None of this would matter if it didn’t have the range to get the job done. Rivian’s 135-kWh large battery pack delivers a full 314 miles of range, far more than enough for most road trips and off-road adventures.
Rivian has demonstrated to the world with its 2022 Rivian R1T that there are new ways to build a pickup and think about a truck’s design, engineering, and use case—all while giving up nothing in capability in the process. It shows us pickups can be for people who never thought they wanted one. It shows us they can be more than leather-lined tools, that commercial applications are not the exclusive starting point in envisioning a new truck. Most important, it shows us they can be electric vehicles—and be better for it. That’s why it’s the 2022 MotorTrend Truck of the Year.