2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup vs. 2022 Rivian R1T: Our First-Ever Electric Truck Comparo

By no measure do the new 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup and the 2022 Rivian R1T feel like they have anything in common. The Rivian is a quiet, sophisticated, and reserved electric pickup. Introverted, even. The GMC Hummer EV is a huge, brash, all-you-can-eat buffet of themes and features. And yet the Rivian and the Hummer—the first and second electric pickups to hit the market—have more in common than you’d think.

Ignoring their combined seven motors, 335 kWh of battery storage, and 1,835 horsepower, what the GMC and Rivian represent are the ultimate on- and off-road do-it-all pickups to ever hit the streets. They are, as it turns out, two sides of the same coin. It’s time to determine which one is the better pickup, both on road and off.

Tale of the Tape

Whereas the upcoming 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is designed to be a work truck first, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup Edition 1 and 2022 Rivian R1T Launch Edition both cater to the “lifestyle” crowd—both are happy to be put to work but are far more likely to whisk their well-heeled owners on weekend adventures. Rivian aims to “electrify the outdoors,” whereas GMC wants the Hummer to be considered the “world’s first all-electric supertruck,” which by the look of the thing, basically means a plus-sized electric Ram 1500 TRX-fighter.

GMC and Rivian, however, both take similar approaches in building their electric off-roaders.

Neither design is exactly what we’d call traditional, but the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup’s ought to be more familiar to the average truck buyer. Sized somewhere between a full-size and a heavy-duty pickup, the GMC packs a massive frunk, convertible cab (the four T-top style roof panels fit in “pizza boxes” in the frunk), and 5-foot bed on a massive 200-kWh battery pack—among the largest pack yet fitted to an electric vehicle. Like a Tesla Model S Plaid, power comes courtesy of three permanent-magnet motors, two in back and one in front. Combined output is a whopping 1,000 hp and 1,200 lb-ft of torque—enough to make both the most ardent environmentalist and loudest climate-change-denier smile. The all-wheel-drive setup features torque-vectoring and “virtual lockers” in back, and an old-school mechanical-locking differential up front.

The Hummer EV Pickup features a slew of off-road technology, too. The party piece is unquestionably its four-wheel-steering system, which not only shrinks the GMC’s turning circle to that of a midsize SUV, but it allows the truck to “Crab Walk” nearly sideways around obstacles—helping mitigate the GMC’s massive dimensions both on-road and off. Each corner of the Hummer also features 18-inch wheels equipped with aggressive Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, and a four-corner air suspension system gives the Hummer up to 15.9 inches of ground clearance in Extract mode (though this mode wasn’t enabled as of October 2021 when we executed this comparison test, limiting ground clearance to “just” 11.9 inches in “Terrain” mode). Other off-road gear includes skidplates, rock sliders that double as side steps (and hide the height of the massive battery pack), and neat underbody cameras to help the driver avoid obstacles.

The Hummer EV Pickup is presently only available in Edition 1 form, which starts at $110,295. Our test vehicle stickered for $112,595.

Despite its rather understated looks, the 2022 Rivian R1T electric pickup should prove to be a tough match for the Hummer. Splitting the difference between a half-ton pickup and a midsizer, the R1T fits the familiar three-box pickup body on a 135-kWh battery pack. Up front, the R1T sports a large frunk, while between the crew cab and covered 4.5-foot bed (which includes a trunk big enough for a full-size spare) is a large “gear tunnel” that provides even more storage. Under the skin, the R1T one-ups the Hummer with four inboard-mounted permanent-magnet motors, which combine for 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque, capable of providing instant and precise torque-vectoring at each wheel and negating the need for differentials.

The R1T may lack the ability to Crab Walk (or “tank turn” as initially promised), but it features a novel air and hydraulic suspension system that allows for up to 14.9 inches of ground clearance, impressive articulation off-road, and sports-car-like handling with luxury-car ride quality on paved roads. Our R1T Launch Edition test truck furthered its off-road credentials with the $2,000 Off-Road Upgrade, which adds 20-inch wheels with Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus Electric tires, beefy front tow hooks, and a carbon-fiber skidplate.

Prices for the R1T Launch Edition (now sold out but effectively replaced by the R1T Adventure) start at $74,050. Our test truck stickered for $79,375, thanks to the addition of the Off-Road Upgrade, a $2,500 paint job, and a $800 full-size spare tire. Since we completed this comparison back in October, Rivian has significantly increased the R1T’s price; a comparatively equipped 2023 R1T Adventure stickers for $96,975.

Pounding Pavement

Despite marketing material for both the 2022 GMC Hummer EV and 2022 Rivian R1T suggesting the vehicles will spend the majority of their time off the beaten path, data (and experience) suggest these two electric pickups will spend the majority of their time on pavement, so that’s where we’ll begin.

We won’t body-shame the Hummer, but given the 1,792-pound weight difference between the two rigs, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the lighter R1T feels like the sports car of the duo. Making up for its power gap with an extra motor and a superior 8.6-pound-per-horsepower ratio, the Rivian shoots off the line with little in the way of drama or occasion. It’s quite literally point-and-squirt; the Rivian’s four motors work in tandem with its well-tuned traction-control system to give you all 835 horses at any time.

Thanks to its trick suspension system, the R1T rides and handles wonderfully, too. Impacts like potholes and railroad crossings are one-and-done affairs. Steering is quick and progressive, and instant torque vectoring helps make the Rivian handle like a far smaller vehicle. Natural-feeling brakes and a variety of regen levels (we preferred the default Maximum) add to the confidence-inspiring package. The R1T has a knack for suiting your driving mood—it’s sporty and engaging when you throw a canyon road at it, yet refined and quiet when you just want to get from A to B.

Speaking of, Rivian’s Driver+ Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) shows lots of promise. Limited for now to roads that Rivian has mapped (it worked for us both on the interstate and on out-of-the-way state highways), the system is excellent at behaving both predictably and like a human driver. Even better, when it sees it’s going to get into situations it’s not comfortable with, it gives the driver an early warning to take back control. Still, though, we’d like to see more roads mapped and more features added—like automatic lane changes and the ability to handle more aggressive bends.

If driving the Rivian is like sipping a great pour-over coffee, driving the Hummer is like mainlining Red Bull while being punched in the face. Despite the thoroughly modern powertrain under the skin, there’s an old-school feel to the Hummer. Everything is an occasion—none more so than launching in “Watts to Freedom” (or WTF) mode. The Hummer squats down hard on its rear end, your view turns from the horizon to the skies, and you wrestle with torque steer, “In a way I haven’t experienced since Chrysler’s 1980s FWD turbo cars,” senior editor Aaron Gold said. It isn’t what we’d call polished, but it sure is fun. “I’m surprised at how much body roll, squat, and dive GMC engineered into this truck,” features editor Scott Evans said. “Every change in direction or momentum feels like an emergency maneuver. It certainly makes driving the Hummer EV dramatic.”

Whereas the R1T manages to convince you it’s a sport sedan, the Hummer EV doesn’t hide its truckiness. Its cabin is noisy due to the trifecta of big mud-terrain tires, an upright windshield, and removable roof panels. Additionally, its Baja-tuned air suspension shudders over road imperfections. Those hopping out of a late-model Ford F-150 Raptor, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, or Ram TRX will feel right at home. The GMC’s steering, though, is otherworldly. Crab Walk may be a bit of a gimmick, but the aggressive four-wheel-steer system makes the Hummer EV Pickup remarkably maneuverable and easy to place on the road, even if it never shrinks around you. It’s 37.1 foot turning circle—compared to the smaller Rivian’s 44.9—really shows how much of a benefit the system is. We have few complaints with the GMC’s brakes other than long stopping distances, but we wish the one-pedal-driving setting wasn’t buried under menus in the infotainment system, and we’d like more adjustability independent of the steering-wheel-mounted regen paddle. Some also found the truck difficult to brake smoothly.

We like Rivian’s Driver+, but GM’s Super Cruise system—now finally trickling down from Cadillac to “lesser” brands—is arguably the best ADAS system on the market. Though limited to roads GM has mapped (more than 130,000 miles and counting), the system is thoughtfully designed and engineered, and it behaves almost exactly as a human driver would. “It engages really quickly, and the no-intervention passing, and lane changes are amazing,” news editor Alex Kierstein said. “Clear handoff signals help Super Cruise build instant trust.”

Which Truck Is Quickest?

The 2022 Rivian R1T may beat the 2022 Hummer EV Pickup in power-to-weight ratio and on-road manners, but it’s the big Jimmy that holds the lead in instrumented testing.

We strapped our test gear to the R1T first, where it accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and through the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 111.2 mph, overtaking the Ram TRX to become the quickest pickup we’ve ever tested.

Briefly.

Aided by WTF mode (no launch control exists in the R1T, though we’re told Rivian is working on it), the Hummer EV Pickup claws its way to 60 mph in an astonishing 3.0 seconds. The Hummer starts to lose its head of steam (and battle with physics) by the quarter mile, tying the R1T’s 11.7 second time, but trapping at 105.4 mph.

Off-Roading Electric

The GMC Hummer holds the advantage when it comes to approach, breakover, and departure angles (49.7/32.2/38.4 degrees versus 34.0/25.7/29.3 degrees for the Rivian), and ground clearance, but the Rivian’s smaller size, extra motor, and trick suspension make it the better all-arounder off-pavement. Simply put, the R1T is unstoppable. Its ability to instantaneously adjust power at each wheel ensures the Rivian always has traction and the ability to put its power down in almost any situation, even with less aggressive off-road tires than the GMC.

Its suspension compliance is otherworldly, too. While the R1T won’t beat a live-axle truck in articulation, it makes up for it with its ability to make instant damping and roll-control adjustments, ensuring a smooth ride and high speeds. “The grip and poise the R1T has at high speed off-road are incredible for something that’s not a purpose-built desert truck like the Raptor or TRX,” Evans said.

As we learned when driving the R1T on the first-ever electric crossing of the Trans-America Trail (an Atlantic-to-Pacific off-road trail stretching from North Carolina to Oregon), its biggest weakness off-road is the lack of audible feedback in low-friction scenarios, like deep sand. In a gas-powered off-roader, the driver can hear when the vehicle starts to bog down and use it as a cue to add power to keep momentum up. The Hummer does this, too, by playing a motor-like noise over the stereo that syncs with throttle input off-road. The R1T is dead-silent, though; you often don’t realize you’re bogging until things are getting, well, interesting.

Whereas the R1T’s biggest drawback is its lack of audible feedback in deep sand or mud, the Hummer’s, surprisingly, isn’t its size—at least not on the trails we took it on—but its lack of traction. The original Hummers were plodding but confidence-inspiring off-road, but the new EV Pickup is a handful. It can generate far more speed than grip, leading to its electronics constantly pulling power and grabbing brakes to keep things sorted. Low-speed uphill traction could be a challenge, too, where the front tires stutter and spin as the rear end pushes the truck uphill. The manually locking front diff helps here, but the Rivian’s extra motor makes the Hummer’s solution feel like a band aid, not a benefit.

Still, it’s not all bad. We never found a serious use for the Crab Walk function, but the GMC’s four-wheel-steering system is a boon for low-speed maneuverability, making it easy to place the Hummer in all but the tightest of spots on a trail. The underbody cameras help a ton, too. The Hummer’s softly sprung air suspension may not be as versatile as the Rivian’s air/hydraulic setup, but it more than does the job off-road, with plenty of suspension travel and articulation.

Towing and Hauling With Electric Pickups

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup and 2022 Rivian R1T may land more on the lifestyle end of the truck spectrum, but we expect trucks to still be able to do some work, and so we tested both vehicles’ towing and hauling.

The Hummer, with its 5-foot bed and larger footprint, may seem primed to be the leader here, but the Rivian, despite its 4.5-foot bed, punches well above its weight. The GMC has a payload capacity of 1,300 pounds and a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds, about bang-on for what we expect from an off-road performance-oriented half-tonner but back of the pack compared to fellow heavy-duty off-roaders like the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. The Rivian, on the other hand, is an overachiever. It has a payload capacity of 1,760 pounds and a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, beating all midsize trucks and all half-ton off-roaders save for the Ford F-150 Tremor in payload capacity.

Based on how it drives with a 1,500-pound load in its bed (our standard half-ton truck payload test weight), or with a 7,500-pound trailer hanging off its rear bumper (our standard towing test weight is about two-thirds of a truck’s max capacity), those figures seem conservative. The R1T’s electric motors offer up the low-end torque of a diesel with the high-end torque of a gas-burner. It’s truly the best of both worlds. “Tows like there’s nothing there,” Evans said. “It doesn’t squat, dive, or roll any more than it would without a trailer. There’s so much power that 7,500 pounds barely slows it down.” Our test numbers bear that out—the R1T accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with our payload in the bed, and 7.7 seconds with a trailer hitched. In our frustration test, a 35-55-mph towing acceleration test up a 6-percent grade, the Rivian needed just 3.5 seconds and 222.2 feet.

It might sound like we’re picking on the lovable GMC, but it didn’t have as easy a time when put to work. Despite the fact we overloaded the Hummer with a 1,500-pound payload (we arguably should’ve used our standard heavy-duty pickup payload weight of 2,000 pounds but didn’t in the interest of safety), payload testing wasn’t an issue as the truck shrugged off the weight. However, towing isn’t something we’d want to do with the GMC regularly. With a 5,000-pound trailer hitched to its bumper, the Hummer tended to torque-steer when accelerating and braking, which, coupled with the excessive squat from the rear suspension, didn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Even so, its numbers were respectable, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and 7.1 seconds (hauling and towing, respectively), and acing the frustration test in 3.1 seconds and 208.1 feet. We’re not sure what the electric equivalent of “there’s no replacement for displacement” is, but yeah, that.

When it comes to storage, the Hummer’s extra 6 inches of bed length benefits cargo volume, and the MultiPro Tailgate, while fussy, helps make up for the massive liftover height. While the Hummer offers a large frunk for covered storage, it’s normally filled with the pizza-box-like holders for the electric pickup’s four removable roof panels.

The R1T may have a smaller bed (lined with a plastic composite instead of the GMC’s more traditional bedliner), but it makes up for it with extra covered storage. Rivian’s Gear Tunnel seems like a novelty feature, but it’s an incredibly useful storage area for long, bulky items that you don’t want exposed to the elements. They’re handy steps for bed access, too. We also appreciated both the frunk and trunk. The now-optional power tonneau cover is a nice touch, too, but it got sand between the slats and broke during our testing. We’d skip it.

Both the Rivian and Hummer would benefit from the ability to lower their air suspensions from the cargo area, making it easier to load and unload the bed.

It’s worth pointing out that range is a major concern the public has when putting an electric pickup truck, like the Hummer EV and Rivian R1T, to work. In our testing, payload ate up a negligible amount of range, while towing usually halved the range. That correlates to what we’ve experienced when towing similar loads with gas-powered pickup trucks: range is generally cut in half when towing. Diesels fare a bit better, usually losing about a quarter of their range because diesel is about 15 percent more energy dense than gasoline.

Range and Charging

Speaking of range, let’s talk about it. The 2022 Rivian R1T sports a 135-kWh battery pack (133 kWh of which is usable), is EPA-rated at 74/66/70 mpg-e, and can travel up to 314 miles on a charge.

The Hummer is a bit trickier to discuss—it weighs so much, the EPA classifies it as a heavy-duty truck, meaning it’s exempt from testing (follow-on versions of the Hummer will be lighter and qualify for EPA testing, says GMC). Even so, the automaker says it ran the Hummer EV Pickup through the EPA cycle anyway, where, thanks to its massive 200-kWh battery, the Hummer achieved 329 mile of range despite its 61/52/56 mpg-e score.

But there’s more to range than miles—charge speed is just as, if not more, important than range. After all, what good is a big battery if it takes a century to fill it? The Hummer has the edge here, too. GM’s new Ultium EV architecture allows for a charge speed of up to 350 kW (or 10 miles a minute), making the Hummer one of the quickest-charging EVs on the market today. The R1T, on the other hand, has a 190-kW peak charge rate, but the automaker says it can increase the rate up to 300 kW via over-the-air software updates as more data on battery life comes in from customers. In fact, recent reports from Rivian owners posted online show that a recent update has boosted the R1T’s peak charge rate to north of 215 kW.

Which Truck Has the Better Interior?

The Hummer’s interior makes a great first impression. Although it borrows a bit of hardware from the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, the Hummer sports high-res screens, plenty of buttons, and switchgear that looks as solid as the truck is. But unfortunately, the roomy cabin doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. “The interior looks phenomenal, but closer inspection reveals loose-fitting bits, flimsy knobs and controls, and subpar materials,” digital director Erik Johnson said. “If I didn’t have so much other, better stuff to do, I’d make it my life’s mission to find the bean counter responsible for that pebbled, shiny plastic GM’s been using for 25 years and beat them with a hose. There are acres of that garbage on the doors and lower portions of the console.”

The GMC’s material quality might barely be justifiable on a mid-level GMC Canyon, but it’s inexcusable on a $112,000 vehicle. We’d happily lose the neat moon-landing Easter eggs if it meant material quality befitting of the Hummer’s price tag.

The Rivian R1T’s cabin, while imperfect, has no such quality problems. Its cabin is extremely well finished, with gorgeous wood trim, high-quality faux leather upholstery, and a minimalistic design that feels luxurious, without the pretense. While it’s dimensionally smaller than the GMC’s cabin, editors found the Rivian’s to be more comfortable and plenty spacious for four adults—five in a pinch.

Still, though, the R1T can be a bit too clever for its own good. With few buttons in the cabin, most functions occur in the Rivian’s massive landscape-oriented touchscreen. While easy to use, in its current iteration it requires the driver to take their eyes off the road and a hand off the wheel to adjust everything from drive modes and cabin temperature to the steering wheel and mirror positioning. The system can also be buggy, requiring a reset a few times.

The Verdict

Ultimately when it comes down to which is the better truck, the choice was easy. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup First Edition is endlessly charming, reminding us that cars, trucks, and SUVs should first and foremost be fun. The Hummer doesn’t take itself even remotely seriously, and it’s a complete mishmash of competing themes and ideals, but it works. Despite all that, though, it’s simply outmatched by a truck that’s not only smaller and cheaper, but to add insult to injury, better built, better to drive, and more capable.

The 2022 Rivian R1T First Edition wins MotorTrend‘s first-ever electric pickup truck comparison. The R1T may be more introverted than the Hummer, but don’t confuse that for a lack of personality. This overachiever is an absolute blast to drive both on- and off-road, and despite its smaller dimensions and upstart status, it sacrifices nothing in terms of capability. Couple that with its more efficient powertrain, better build quality, nicer cabin, and more affordable price? Well, that’s a package that’s tough to beat.

2nd Place: 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup

PROS

  • Game-changing charge speed
  • Four-wheel steer and Super Cruise
  • The return of a brand we love

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Material quality is meh
  • Needs more powertrain refinement

VERDICT

Four-and-a-half tons of fun and an impressive piece of tech, but it needs some more powertrain polish and an upgraded cabin (or lower sticker price) before it’s ready for prime time.

1st Place: 2022 Rivian R1T First Edition

PROS

  • Unstoppable off-road
  • Drives like a sports car on-road
  • Tons of clever storage options

CONS

  • Charge speed could be quicker
  • Too many functions require the touchscreen
  • Price increases make it less of a value than it once was

VERDICT

Better built, better to drive, more capable, more efficient, and more of a value—there’s nothing more we need to say.

Hot Reads

  • 2022 Genesis G80 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige First Test: Quiet Assassin
  • Watch the 2023 Honda Civic Type R Go For a Little Rip Around Suzuka and Set the Lap Record
  • 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup First Edition First Test: HAHA OMG WTF
  • 2023 Maserati Grecale First Drive: Could This Be the One?
  • Future Fuel: Porsche Sponsors Major eFuel Initiative—at $45/Gallon

Source: Read Full Article