Rivian Software Update Introduces "Soft Sand" Drive Mode to R1T and R1S

Rivian R1S with Soft Sand mode 9 photos
Photo: Rivian
Rivian R1S with Soft Sand modeRivian R1S with Soft Sand modeRivian R1S with Soft Sand modeRivian R1T pickup truckRivian R1T pickup truckRivian R1T pickup truckRivian R1T pickup truckRivian R1T pickup truck
A tweener pickup that slots between the mid-size Ford Ranger and full-size Ford F-150, the Rivian R1T all-electric truck has recently received an over-the-air update that enables a driving mode designed specifically for soft sand. Also rolled out to the R1S all-electric sport utility vehicle, this piece of software optimizes traction and stability control, decreasing the driver’s chances of getting stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere.
What does Soft Sand mode do to the vehicle? For starters, the driver’s inputs are softened. Through the magic of software, the accelerator pedal’s mapping initiates and maintains momentum over sand by allowing the gradual buildup of throttle at low speeds. A more aggressive delivery at high speeds also needs to be mentioned, along with softer regenerative braking.

Software also changes the suspension’s damping and ride characteristics for driving over undulating surfaces at high speeds, soaking up the ruts and holes that you may encounter on such difficult terrain. The electric vehicle-making company highlights that “Soft Sand mode really shines in deep sand, specifically sand dunes.” Rivian claims that Soft Sand mode isn’t optimal for most other terrains, which require Off-Road All-Terrain mode.

Currently available to reserve for $1,000 if you’re willing to wait until late 2023 for delivery, the R1T pickup truck starts at $67,500 for the so-called Explore Package with the dual-motor powertrain and the standard battery.

What do you actually get for your money? Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel open the list, joined by an air compressor, recycled textile floor mats, driver-seat lumbar adjustments, vegan leather upholstery, a panoramic roof, and matte-black interior finishes. The R1S kicks off at $72,500 before any options, and as expected, seven seats come standard.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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