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Rivian R1S earns Top Safety Pick+ rating thanks to safety improvements


May 4, 2023
Rivian R1S earns Top Safety Pick+ rating thanks to safety improvements


Rivian R1S models built after January 2023 earned the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While this isn’t the first time that the agency has tested the SUV, earlier models missed out on the award due to an “acceptable” rating in one test.

IIHS officials explained that the first R1S models to roll off the Normal, Illinois, assembly line don’t quality for the Top Safety Pick+ award because they didn’t perform as well as they should have in the moderate overlap front test. The agency pointed out that “the driver-side floor pan bucked during the test,” which contributed to high forces on the driver’s lower right leg. In turn, this indicates “a likely injury.”

Rivian addressed this issue earlier in 2023, though it hasn’t detailed the changes made, and a video showing the SUV crashing its way to the Top Safety Pick+ list is embedded above; the impact is strong enough to tear off the driver-side front wheel. The EV scored high marks in the other tests: its front crash system earned a “superior” rating in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian test and an “advanced” rating in the night test. Headlights with a “good” rating are standard across the board, from the cheapest version of the SUV to the range-topping trim level.

Earning a spot on the list of Top Safety Pick+ models became more difficult in 2023 because the IIHS made the requirements tougher. Cars must offer “good” or “acceptable” headlights across the entire range regardless of trim level, and the object that strikes the vehicle in the side test is now heavier and traveling at a higher speed. Cars need to score a “good” rating in this test to qualify for the coveted “plus” award.

Rivian’s R1T pickup, which is closely related to the R1S under the sheet metal, is on the list of Top Safety Pick+ models as well.

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