Rivian R1T demonstrates its eight drive modes

In our First Drive of the Rivian R1T pickup last September, we discussed the eight drive modes the battery-electric pickup offers. The five main modes are: All-Purpose, Conserve, Off-Road, Sport, and Towing. The Off-Road setting is actually made up of four sub-modes, which gives eight total ways to automatically configure the truck for various terrain and driving styles. Rivian put together a video showing where each mode would be used and how the pickup responds, eliminating (almost) all the reading necessary to see what the R1T has in its dynamic arsenal.

If you’d like the quick explanation before resorting to visual aids, what you need to know is that each mode adjusts four primary parameters: Ride height, ride quality, brake regeneration strength, and stability control activation. There are five ride heights, from the lowest at 9.9 inches to a maximum of 15.4 inches. The ride quality can be either soft or hard, brake regen can be either standard or high. The stability control system offers three settings, either off, reduced, or on. The summary of each mode is: 

  • All-Purpose: The default mode for everyday driving, starts in standard ride height (11.9 inches) and drops to low (10.5 inches) at freeway speeds to reduce drag. Soft ride quality, standard brake regen, stability control on.
  • Conserve: Offers more efficiency by prioritizing the front motors, drops to lowest ride height (9.9 inches) while cruising and dials back the A/C. Soft ride quality, high brake regen, stability reduced.
  • Sport: Sets the truck at low ride height and reduces the stability control, unlocking four-wheel drifts and mild tail-swinging action on hard surfaces. Sets the ride quality to stiff, brake regen to standard.
  • Off-Road Auto: For light trail work from fire roads to clambering over loose (little) rocks. Starts at high height (13.5 inches), offers max (15.4 inches) as an option. Standard brake regen, stability control is on.
  • Off-Road Drift: For loose surfaces, starts at standard height, can rise to high. Torque bias is on the rear wheels but, naturally, permits more speed differential between front and rear axles. The ride is set to stiff, brake regen is high, stability control is off.
  • Off-Road Rally: For running the R1T like a Ford F-150 Raptor in places other than the dunes. Starts in standard height and offers high, with brake regen also high but stability control reduced for flowing yet composed tail behavior.
  • Off-Road Rock Crawl: Keeping in mind this is an everyday pickup that isn’t rubbered up with 40-inchers, this is for getting over larger granite obstacles. Starts at high height, offers max as an option, and unlocks maximum suspension articulation. Brake regen is high, stability control is on.
  • Towing: When it’s time to pull the wagon, this setting activates automatically when a trailer is hooked up. Standard ride height, stiff ride, high brake regen, and stability control on the job.  

A diagram in the upper right corner of the video shows how torque is apportioned during whatever maneuvers the truck is making at the time, for the full info dump. The only sub-menu left out is the Launch mode in Sport, which uncorks the R1T’s estimated 3.0-second 0-60 mph acceleration time, but after watching the video, you’ll get the (moving) picture.

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