Rivian R1S Completes Quest For Redemption, Snags IIHS Tops Safety Pick+ Award

The Rivian R1T pickup earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ award a while back, but Rivian’s initial plans for a repeat performance with the R1S SUV hit a snag when the futuristic SUV earned an acceptable rating in one testing category. Rivian was eager to prove that the R1S could match its pickup counterpart in safety, and after a retest, the R1S has finally joined its pickup sibling in the Safety Pick+ club.


Second Time Is The Charm For Rivian R1S

The requirements are more challenging for both the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK and higher-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+ award in 2023. Acceptable or good headlights are now required across all trims for either award rather than only for the higher accolade. In addition, the updated side test, in which a heavier striking barrier hits the test vehicle at a higher speed, replaces the original side evaluation. Vehicles must earn an acceptable or good rating to qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK. A good rating is required for the “plus.”

In the case of the Rivian, the IIHS claimed that the R1S wasn’t allowed to get the award due to the SUV getting an acceptable rating in the moderate front overlap test. Rivian addressed the problem in early 2023 but has not gone into specifics on how they did that. Regardless of what they did, the updates were enough to help the SUV qualify for the award, with the SUV getting an improved score in the moderate front overlap test (despite the front wheel being torn off.) The R1S also has a standard front crash prevention system that earned a “superior” rating in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian test and an advanced rating in the nighttime test. The R1S’s headlights also got a “good rating,” with all trim levels having these headlights standard.

A prominent catch here is that R1S models built after January 2023 qualify for the Top Safety Pick+ award, with models produced prior not qualifying due to the old overlap test score, which took into account observed bending in the floor pan that was likely to cause injury to the leg of the test dummy. The IIHS has also released a video of the R1S’s overlap and side impact tests, which can be seen below.