Rivian R1T Wins MotorTrend Truck of the Year Award

In each case, it was the first time that an automaker had won the award with its first vehicle. Tesla won the Car of the Year award in 2013 with the Tesla Model S, another electric vehicle from a startup automaker, but it was Tesla’s second model, after the original Tesla Roadster.

MotorTrend, which began as a print magazine in 1949, now also operates cable and video streaming channels and boasts of being the largest automotive media company in the world. Its annual “of the year” awards, which date back to the magazine’s inception, are sought after by automakers and, when won, are featured in advertisements.

The Rivian R1T is also the first truck not manufactured by one of Detroit’s traditional big three automakers to win the award since 2008.

Ed Loh, Editorial Manager for MotorTrend, said Rivian’s victory is even more remarkable than Lucid’s because of the challenge of pickup trucks.

Trucks are called upon to perform a much wider range of functions than cars, Loh said, while providing a comfortable ride and a good driving experience.. Truckmakers also tend to be rather conservative when designing new models, the MotorTrend authors said, not wanting to risk proven and highly profitable designs. The best-selling vehicles in America are the Ford F-series and Chevrolet Silverado.

This makes the Rivian truck all the more striking, MotorTrend noted in its ad. This year’s finalists for the award included other non-traditional pickups such as the GMC Hummer EV, another all-electric truck, and the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which is essentially a crossover SUV with an open body.

The Rivian R1T is the first commercially available electric vehicle with four motors, one to power each wheel. This allows for more off-road capability, as power can be sent precisely to the wheels with the most traction. When driving on the pavement, it also helps when cornering, giving the R1T similar performance on the road. to a luxury sedan, according to MotorTrend.

When testing Rivian’s competitor, the Hummer EV, MotorTrend employees were impressed with the power and speed of this truck, but not with its massive weight (over 9,000 pounds) or its brakes, which, according to the authors were not up to the task. to quickly stop all this mass.

The body of the R1T has no space between the bed and the passenger cabin like most trucks do. It’s not entirely unique – smaller trucks like the Ford Maverick, another finalist this year, and Honda Ridgeline also lack that gap – but the designers at Rivian used this area of ​​available bodywork to include a tunnel. load that crosses the truck where this gap would have been. When opened, the doors to this closed cargo area can also be used as side steps to reach the bed up to the roof. The R1T also has a large storage space under its hood.

MotorTrend editors also praised the Rivian’s interior design and materials, calling them worthy of the truck’s $ 70,000 prize. While MotorTrend employees didn’t mind the R1T’s heavy reliance on a touchscreen for many vehicle functions, they said the interface was at least reasonably easy to use.

MotorTrend is part of a joint venture co-owned by Discovery Inc. CNN is part of WarnerMedia which is expected to merge with Discovery next year.

Rivian only recently started building the R1T for customers and production was initially very slow, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Whether start-ups like Lucid and Rivian will be able to provide vehicles and services to their customers in the years to come wasn’t much of a price consideration, Loh said.

“It’s the car of the year. It’s the truck of the year, he said. “It’s not the business plan of the year.”

Skeptics raised similar concerns when Tesla won the award in 2013, he pointed out, and Tesla became the world’s best-selling electric vehicle maker.

MotorTrend, then spelled Motor Trend, awarded its first Car of the Year award in 1949. At the time, the award was given to a global automotive brand and Cadillac won it. The first Truck of the Year award was in 1977 for the Ford Econoline van – also considered a truck – but the award was not given at all between 1980 and 1989. Motor Trend’s annual awards are not always predictors of market success. In 2002, the Car of the Year award went to the retro-styled Ford Thunderbird, the production of which was not continued until three years later.

Today, the awards are given to individual vehicle models that are either completely new or completely redesigned for the new model year.

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