Rivian R1T Drive Modes explained

3 min read

Rivian r1t suspension

Few vehicles have ever received quite as much hype as the Rivian R1T truck. It’s one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles of all time. And that’s saying something.

Like all modern vehicles, the Rivian R1T comes with various drive modes. These alter its performance to better suit different environments, drivers, and purposes.

Rivian R1T Drive Modes explained

This article walks you through the five different Rivian R1T drive modes. It will also explain when to use each to give you the best driving experience possible.

Before operating your truck, consult your owner’s manual! It tells you everything you need to know, including the risks involved. This article is a basic guide but not a comprehensive overview.

What are the different Rivian R1T Drive Modes?

Towing screen display setting on Rivian R1T
Source: YouTube (EV & Chill)

The Rivian R1T comes with five drive modes. These are as follows:

  • All-Purpose
  • Conserve
  • Sport
  • Off-Road
  • Towing

All-Purpose is the average regular “Drive” mode. It’s a generic balance of power, comfort, and battery usage. For most drivers, this is the drive mode that will be used the vast majority of the time.

Conserve is Rivian’s “economy mode”. It’s all about maximizing the range of the batteries by reducing vehicle performance. This is best for you if keeping your costs down is your main priority.

Sport enhances your on-road performance. It stiffens up the suspension and boosts the throttle responsiveness. The R1T is quick anyway, but in Sport mode, you’ll leave most other motorists for dead.

Off-Road mode does exactly what it says. This setting is for when your truck isn’t on the road. You’ll be able to choose between the following options:

  • Rock Crawl – gentle driving across rocks and rugged terrain.
  • Rally – harsh, faster driving across rough terrain.
  • Drift – fancy getting the rear end out and burning some rubber? Don’t use this drive mode on the road!
  • Auto – generic off-roading. Use this setting for fields or mud, etc.

Finally, the Towing drive mode sets your R1T up for pulling heavy loads. You should use it when towing a trailer or when carrying a heavy load on the truck itself.

How to change Rivian R1T Drive Mode

Screen display setting on Rivian R1T
Source: YouTube (EV & Chill)

The Drive Mode can be changed on the central touchscreen. Follow the instructions below to learn how to do it:

  1. Get in your truck and sit in the driver’s seat with the key.
  2. Select the Drive Mode icon tab at the bottom of the screen.
    • It’s an image of a four-wheel drivetrain to the left of the music icon.
  3. The Drive Modes appear down the left-hand side of the screen.
  4. Select the Drive Mode of your choice (for example, All-Purpose).
  5. Confirm your choice when prompted.

Adjusting the ride height

The Rivian R1T air suspension is paired with “semi-active dampers and adjustable roll control”. These mean your ride height and stiffness can be adjusted from mode to mode.

In each Drive Mode, you can adjust the R1T’s air suspension height.

  • Adjust the ride height on the right-hand side of the Drive Mode tab.

There are five possible ride heights to choose from. Depending on your desired Drive Mode, you can select from one, two, or three.

For example, in All-Purpose mode, you can choose between High, Standard, and Low. You can’t select Max or Lowest.

Find more information about the specifics of this in your owner’s manual. These are the five possible ride heights:

  • Max: 3.5 inches higher than standard.
  • High: 1.6 inches higher than standard.
  • Standard: normal suspension height.
  • Low: 1.4 inches lower than standard.
  • Lowest: 2.0 inches lower than standard.

In general, the Drive Mode will automatically select higher ride heights for off-road applications and lower ride heights for on-road performance. The standard height is a happy medium between the two.

Be aware of the following:

  • Low ride heights risk damage from underneath the car (for example, from rocks or speed bumps).
  • The Max ride height can be dangerous if traveling off-road at more than 25 mph since the R1T becomes top-heavy.
  • In All-Purpose and Conserve modes, the ride height will automatically change to Low at 50 and 31 mph, respectively. This improves energy efficiency.
  • If you’re in the Towing drive mode, you’ll need to stop before changing to the Low suspension height.

After any off-roading, take your truck to a Rivian Service Center. You should have your R1T inspected for damage, including the air suspension and other adjustable ride components.

Consult your owner’s manual for more information on the Rivian R1T Drive Modes. Read it from cover to cover, and never operate your vehicle without knowing what you’re doing!

You’ll find a PDF of the owner’s manual below.

owners manual


How many drive modes does a Rivian have?

The Rivian R1T has five different drive modes. These modes are: All-Purpose, Conserve, Sport, Off-Road (with sub-modes such as Rock Crawl, Rally, Drift, and Auto), and Towing.

What is the best drive mode for Rivian in snow?

Driving in snowy conditions, it’s generally advisable to use a mode that maximizes traction and stability. This could be the “All-Purpose” mode or potentially one of the off-road sub-modes like “Auto,” which can provide better grip and control in challenging terrain.

What is rally mode in Rivian?

Rally mode in the Rivian R1T is a sub-mode within the “Off-Road” category. It is designed for harsh, faster driving across rough and challenging off-road terrain. This mode likely provides enhanced performance and control for off-road enthusiasts who want to navigate more demanding and rugged landscapes.

What is “second shift” at Rivian?

The term “second shift” is not discussed in the article in the context of the Rivian R1T or its drive modes. It is unclear what “second shift” refers to in this context, and additional information would be needed to answer this question.

By Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

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