Rivian has been in the news this year for the R2 and R3 models which it plans to dominate the EV market with during the second half of this decade, but behind the scenes, the company is working on improving the R1S SUV, which I found to be an extremely formidable vehicle during my time with the electric SUV earlier this year (you can read my first look review to learn more about my thoughts on this vehicle).

A new video, posted by Twitter user klwtts, allegedly shows an improved Rivian R1S undergoing testing around Palo Alto, California. The company is rumored to be planning a facelift, potentially set for release as early as 2024. Despite the R1S having made its debut only in 2022, there is significant interest around what the refreshed model could bring, and knowing Rivian, improvements in efficiency, performance, and technology are on the cards. Here are my expectations:

Enhanced Efficiency & Performance

As with any facelift, Rivian should improve the R1S’s already commendable range. The highest range version of the 2024 Rivian R1S (equipped with the ‘large battery pack’) is 410 miles, and this should creep up in the future iterations, through updated components, software, and perhaps streamlined aero parts.

Rivian has also trademarked ‘R1X’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which hints that a performance model is in the making. We’ve heard rumors of an ‘Ascent’ variant in the pipeline (via Rivian forums), which develops a whopping 1,000 hp! Its current peak is 835 hp, which is sufficiently powerful, and if you ask me, adding any more to that would only help in marketing.

Subtle Exterior Updates

While major changes to the R1S’s bold, futuristic design are not anticipated, soft modifications might be on the cards. While the prototype does well to camouflage any changes, we’re expecting tweaks to the front fascia, wheels, headlights, and taillights, enhancing the vehicle’s visual appeal without a complete overhaul. Seeing the R1S in person, I felt that designed has struck a balance between utility and class, and I hope they don’t meddle with the formula.

Interior Additions

One of the features that I expect in the 2025 Rivian R1S is massage seats.

The R1S has established its place in the minds of customers with its luxurious and technology-rich interior. The upcoming refresh is expected to elevate this experience with higher-quality materials and new upholstery options to boost comfort and feel. Moreover, Rivian may introduce enhancements to the infotainment system, enriching user interaction and connectivity.

One of the features that I did indeed miss during my time with the vehicle was massage seats, which I expect to be introduced in future model years.

Advanced Technology Features

Rivian’s commitment to cutting-edge technology is likely to be a significant aspect of the R1S refresh. Improvements may include areas like the infotainment system and advancements in driver-assistance technologies. The latest in semi-autonomous driving features could also be part of the package, offering increased safety and convenience.

Compared to the R1T, the SUV lacks under-seat storage space in the second row and openable gear tunnel. However, I don’t see these aspects changing in the refreshed truck.

Release Date & Pricing

Although Rivian has not confirmed a release date for the refreshed R1S, considering that test prototypes are on the road, the improved SUV could be unveiled during the second half of the year. I’m expecting the prices to start at the same level as today (USD 74,900), and if the rumored Ascent or R1X comes to fruition, expect prices to top out at over USD 100,000.

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