- EV maker Rivian has rolled out an over-the-air replace for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV that strikes all drive-related settings near the motive force’s proper hand, regroups the drive modes, and makes room for a helpful gauge web page.
- Towing is not a stand-alone mode however is now a Trailers perform you possibly can choose from inside most any on-road or off-road driving mode.
- The automobile now learns a trailer’s weight and drag whereas towing to regulate the anticipated vary, and the motive force can retailer these correction components for as much as three trailers.
A well-conceived inside made with logically arrayed buttons and knobs generally is a frictionless method to work together with a automobile’s methods, however a poorly designed hardscape can simply as simply be an irksome supply of frustration you are caught with for so long as you personal the automobile. Say what you’ll concerning the strengths and weaknesses of interacting with touchscreens, however they do maintain a definite benefit: Iffy layouts and suboptimal menu move will be corrected at any level, and using over-the-air updates implies that present house owners profit too.
Such is the case with the 2023.38.0 replace we simply sampled in an R1S SUV. This new OTA replace—which is accessible to all Rivian house owners—does not simply simplify the drive mode interface; it provides a complete new array of gauges and unlocks towing performance that did not beforehand exist. Such an method works particularly properly within the Rivian as a result of the straightforward stuff like headlights, wipers, and the gear selector are bodily stalks of the kind which can be onerous to screw up, they usually make Rivian merchandise acquainted and approachable. Enhancements to the touchscreen and its logic solely complement this fundamental goodness by making the touchscreen controls straightforward to make use of as properly.
Cleaned-Up Drive Modes
Till now, a Rivian driver would choose a drive mode utilizing the expansive central touchscreen that was dominated by graphics that appeared to spotlight themselves on the expense of usability. The drive modes themselves have been shut sufficient at hand, however the ride-height adjustment slider was far-off on the passenger fringe of the display screen, whereas the regen, suspension, and traction management settings have been scattered throughout the underside. What’s extra, the on-road settings had precedence, with the particular off-road selections hidden a layer down. Towing was a mode unto itself that was separate from any of the on- and off-road modes.
With this modification, Rivian has created a devoted area on the motive force’s-side third of the display screen that’s house to all drive-related features when within the drive configuration mode: You continue to get full-screen maps and infotainment shows in these modes.
The highest half of this new zone incorporates a brand new drive-mode choice widget, with On-Street, Off-Street, and Trailers being the three top-level classes. On-Street opens the door to All-Objective, Preserve, Sport, and Snow modes. Off-Street homes All-Terrain, Rock Crawl, Sand, Rally, and Drift modes. “Trailers” appears like a stand-alone third primary class, nevertheless it’s not. As the brand new identify implies, when you choose Trailers, you not get a discrete Tow mode that overrides the drive mode you have chosen, nor does it preclude you from selecting one other.
In the meantime, the underside half of this newly created management zone is a everlasting house for top-level changes akin to suspension stiffness, brake regeneration, experience peak, and stability management. The default settings for every and the vary of picks accessible change with the drive mode you have chosen, and it is all introduced in a transparent, comprehensible, and easy-to attain location near the steering wheel rim.
What concerning the previously dominant splashy graphics that illustrated the truck/SUV performing in your chosen mode? They’re nonetheless right here, however they now occupy the right-hand two-thirds of the primary display screen. And if you happen to’d moderately have a look at one thing extra helpful than an image of a Rivian, you now can.
Swipe Left for the Gauge Web page
The graphic picture of the truck hasn’t simply shrunk by a 3rd; it has additionally gained a pair of delicate rectangles that point out it’s now certainly one of two pages. Swipe to the left to see a completely new show to the precise of the brand new drive-mode area. The left half of this added display screen is an overhead view of the powertrain, exhibiting what’s taking place at every of the 4 contact patches, plus a graphic that reveals the steering angle. The brand new proper half has an array of six gauges, together with a compass, altimeter, journey odometer, TPMS readout, and temperature gauges for the battery and the 4 motors (in case your Rivian has 4 motors).
When you’re in an off-road mode, the battery temp and odometer get swapped out for roll and pitch indicators. We just like the additions however assume one thing else must go so the journey odometer can keep. Lifeless reckoning utilizing path mileage is a staple of off-road guidebooks, and it is onerous to level to digital map substitutes as a result of Rivian nonetheless does not assist smartphone mirroring akin to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the extensively used off-road navigation apps that each of them assist. Your smartphone will nonetheless be suction cupped to a window if you happen to use these.
There’s a Lot Extra to Towing
As talked about earlier, the Trailers web page is not a path to a stand-alone towing mode. As a substitute, it is a window to a brand new towing interface that now coexists with most different drive modes. Towing a trailer is not one thing you do as an alternative of, say, driving off-road; it is one thing you are able to do on the identical time. Choosing Trailers whereas in an off-road mode will definitely have an effect on the habits of the traction management and corral your experience peak selections, nevertheless it’s not an both/or proposition; it is complementary. The Rally and Drift modes are excluded from this, for hopefully apparent causes. Rock Crawl, however, is honest recreation if you happen to’re towing an journey trailer with a quad-motor Rivian.
However the greater get has to do with towing vary and the way the truck extra precisely calculates the accessible vary whereas towing. Within the first mile you tow a brand new trailer, the truck now learns the trailer’s weight primarily based on inner measurements of how acceleration and braking have been affected. From this, a spread correction issue is computed, and it can save you this for later use by naming and saving your trailer in certainly one of three accessible reminiscence spots.
Why save a trailer if it solely takes a mile to study a trailer’s weight? Throughout longer journeys, aerodynamic drag enters the body, and the correction issue will get additional refined, making any vary prediction extra correct. Saving your trailer each shortcuts this course of for the following journey and in addition saves your digital trailer brake achieve setting.
Past this, the opposite new towing characteristic has to do with the digicam system, which now allows the R1T’s rear-facing mattress digicam to be accessible when transferring ahead with a trailer hooked up. This does not apply to the R1S SUV, as a result of its rear digicam is simply too far aft to be of any use seeing across the trailer.
It Boils All the way down to an Digital Facelift
There’s so much to love about this new interface, each when it comes to newly added options and the enormously improved simplicity and ease of use that makes what is basically the identical touchscreen interface far much less distracting. Rivian’s engineering crew has achieved a lot to place oft-used drive-mode controls close to the motive force’s fingertips. We love the brand new gauge web page too, however we do see room for enchancment. A few of them are a bit out of the motive force’s eye line, and we expect the journey odometer is extra vital off-road than the designers imagined. It might be good if an proprietor might nominate any of them for momentary residency on the instrument panel too.
However that is selecting nits, and it is overlooking the bigger level. This profound change is the form of factor you could possibly solely hope for in most automobiles when facelift time comes round and possibly would not see till the following full mannequin change. In both case, the present house owners who complained in surveys concerning the gaffes and acquired the ball rolling would not profit except they traded in for the brand new mannequin. That is not the case right here, as a result of everybody advantages when an OTA is concerned.
Any minor beefs with 2023.38.0 which will come up will be corrected in future updates, and it lays the groundwork for future tweaks. We will think about trailer tongue weight sensing as a chance, for instance. And simply assume how rather more we would just like the R1S and R1T in the event that they added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Factor is, they nonetheless can.
Dan Edmunds was born into the world of vehicles, however not the way you would possibly assume. His father was a retired racing driver who opened Autoresearch, a race-car-building store, the place Dan minimize his tooth as a steel fabricator. Engineering college adopted, then SCCA Showroom Inventory racing, and that mixture landed him suspension improvement jobs at two totally different automakers. His writing profession started when he was picked up by Edmunds.com (no relation) to construct a testing division.