Is the Rivian Electric Pickup Truck a Tesla Fighter, Why no AWD Kia Soul and Come Back Suzuki!? [Ask Nathan]

2015 Range Rover Evoque vs 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

  • Is the Rivian electric pickup for real and will it fight Tesla?
  • Why isn’t the new Kia Soul AWD?
  • Will Suzuki ever come back to the USA?

Rivian R1TThe first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the Rivian electric pickup truck (which debuted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show).

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) The numbers on the Rivian Pickup truck look unreal. Is this for real and will it compete with the upcoming Tesla pickup truck?

Do you have more information on it?



The Rivian pickup truck packs four electric motors, one at each wheel. That makes the 750 horsepower rating feasible, as well as the 0-60 time of 3.0 seconds. As for the 10,000+ lb-ft of torque, that’s at least what Rivian claims. We’ll have to see how that translates into real-world capability.

Rivian took acquired the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois to build the new R1T pickup as well as their new SUV. The truck is supposed to tow over 11,000 pounds and ahve a payload around 1,700 pounds. A former McLaren engineer is one of the head designers for the Rivian project.

Prices are supposed to start at $61,000 – with the smaller battery model, which is still 135 kWh. A larger 180 kWh battery is also supposed to be available, offering up to 410 miles of range.

Now, keep in mind: we have no idea if any of these performance claims can be substantiated. Some are a bit difficult to believe, but I’ve said that before with Tesla and was proven wrong. Being that they re taking orders now, they certainly seem like they are serious about their product.




The next question comes from our friend Tammy who owns a Kia. She noticed comments lamenting the lack of all-wheel drive (AWD) and wanted some answers.

Q: It’s Tammy the Kia lady again! 

Hi Nathan, thanks for answering my question last week! I have another (Kia Soul) question if you don’t mind, LOL!
I watched your video and read the comments about the same Kia Soul I mentioned before. Lots of people are talking about all wheel drive. I thin k that’s odd because it never had all wheel drive. Why are people expecting it?
It’s just a curious question I had. I hope you and Roman have a great holiday season!
God bless!
Tammy G

A: Hello Tammy, thanks for the email!

There was a lot of speculation, even from TFLcar, that there would be an all-wheel drive (AWD) option for the next generation Kia Soul. Part of that speculation was fueled by (what we think was) the Kia Soul X-Line tester. Compared to other Kia Souls we spotted testing, the Kia Soul X-Line looks lifted, as if it’s sporting an AWD system underneath.

If you look at the photo below, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

This is the 2020 Kia Soul X-Line as it was unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Photo: TFLcar


While it’s not built for heading off-road, it sure looks like it’s an AWD vehicle. Also, you have to remember that Kia labels the Soul as a crossover. Yep, just like the Kia Niro, they insist that a boxy hatchback is a crossover.

For the record: I don’t.

They still may consider adding some sort of AWD system to the Soul. I think they may look at a similar system Toyota uses on their Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: an electric motor powering the rear wheels. It may depend on demand.

Thanks again for the email!



The last question comes from a Suzuki fan who misses the brand and wants it to come back to the USA.

I was wondering if you think Suzuki (cars) will ever come back to the USA.  

I have owned three Suzuki vehicles. I had a Sidekick a Reno and I still drive a SX4. All three vehicles have been some of the best cars I’ve owned. I know the Suzuki Reno is kind of a joke compared to other cars in its class. It was a work car that I drove for three years and I put on serious mileage. Never had a problem.

The SX4 I have is one of the best winter cars I’ve driven. It is cheap to run and I only had to replace the front pads in over 50,000 miles. I know their partnerships with Chevy and Nissan didn’t produce great results and hurt them. But they now have the new Jimny and it’s awesome.

Do you think if we make enough of a demand they will come back? I know you’re a Suzuki fan and have owned some so you should be the right guy to ask!

Thomas MC

Ashland, Oregon

Suzuki Samurai

A:  Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the email!

Sorry to say, it is extremely doubtful that Suzuki cars will return to the United States. Even if they pair up with another automaker (selling Jimnys under an automaker’s brand name who’s already here), the cost to federalize, possible tariffs and shipping combined would (most likely) kill any real profits.

I’m sorry, I would love to play with the Jimny and have Suzuki cars back in our market – but it doesn’t look likely.


Speaking of new, rugged(ish) vehicles…

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