In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Will we see a baby Rivian EV pickup “R2T?”
- Toyota Camry AWD vs Subaru Legacy?
- You do too many EV stories!
The first question comes from a viewer who thinks we will see an R2T from Rivian, which will be a baby EV pickup.
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Sick of waiting but I hear that they will build a baby Rivian pickup R2T which will be a tiny pickup based on their tiny SUV.
Rivian has to sell cheaper vehicles and this rumor makes sense. I hope it’s affordable because I am tired of seeing these EV prices skyrocket!
A: Man, a Baby Rivian Pickup sounds awesome.
There certainly is justification for Rivian to build something cool like this R2T you mentioned. The idea of a smaller, less expensive EV that’s utilitarian sounds good to me. Other markets, like China and Europe, are looking for crossovers and hatchbacks (on top of larger SUVs). Building an entry-level vehicle would make a lot of sense in those markets.
Just the other day, Rivian said some interesting things in an interview:
“The R1 family of vehicles comprises the halo products, but lower-priced models are being planned. Scaringe says there’s a whole slew of products to follow and the naming convention will continue, which means next up would be an R2 series of at least two smaller electric vehicles to coincide with the smaller platform they will ride on, then another platform for R3. Rivian has not shown any of the future products, but the company is oriented to adventure-type trucks and SUVs. Executing means additional production capacity, different form factors, and different price points and markets, Scaringe says. It is reasonable to assume similar body styles but in different sizes.”CEO RJ Scaringe interview: Motor Trend- Feb. 2021
A small to midsize pickup truck makes sense, but making it affordable may be an issue. Right now, the base model Rivian R1T goes for $67,500 – with a 300 mile range. If you build it up a bit, it can easily exceed $95,000. Basically, they would have to build a small pickup for nearly half the price to be competitive.
You can read about Rivian’s Adventure Network (here).
Looking at these small crossover renderings, perhaps that platform could be used for a sm all pickup of some sort. It would take a lot pf engineering to make it work. I would estimate that it would have to haul four people, have a 200-250 mile range, 1,200 payload and be able to tow 4,000 lbs for over 100 miles on the highway. All that for less than $40,000. That’s my take – and it’s just wish fulfillment, nothing more.
As of right now, Rivian has made no “official” announcements. You can read that MT post (here).
The next question comes from a young shopper who is cross shopping the new Subaru Legacy vs the Toyota Camry AWD
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Thanks for answering my last question. One more; Subaru Legacy mid grade vs the Toyota Camry AWD LE.
I priced both at about $27K well loaded and with the 4 cylinder engines. Which is better and why?
A: Another good question!
On paper, the Toyota Camry is the more powerful vehicle, that’s a little bit larger in some dimensions (they both have 15.1 cu-ft of truck space). Subaru’s Legacy has a lower starting price, better efficiency numbers and an optional turbocharged engine.
MPG numbers: 27 mpg city and 35 mpg for the Legacy, and 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway for the Camry.
The Camry comes with a 202 horsepower 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 182 lb-ft of torque. While there is a beefy V6 and hybrid system available, they do not come with AWD. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Camry feels a lot more sporty and connected than other Subaru’s we’ve tested. The Subaru is also a few hundred pounds heavier than the Camry.
I test drove a Subaru Legacy base model recently, and it was a lease return, but it seemed like it was in good shape. It was very smooth. The suspension is well sorted and the interior is spacious. Unfortunately, it was kind of numb and felt somewhat disconnected from the road. The Legacy comes with a 182 hp H4 boxer engine that makes 176 lb-ft of torque. It also comes standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that can simulate an eight-speed transmission.
As we’ve stated before, the CVT takes away some of the capability of the Subaru’s AWD system, but it make it more efficient. Recently, we tested a Camry and a Subaru Crosstrek on our slip-test. The Crosstrek has a similar AWD system to the Legacy’s system. The Toyota’s AWD system proved superior.
All in all, I would take the Camry over the Legacy. You should test drive both back-to-back and throw in an Altima and Kia K5 for good measure. You might be surprised!
The last question comes from an upset former fan who thinks we cover too many EVs.
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Paraphrased.
- Hate all the coverage you and your (T)FL buddies give to electric cars. Nobody will buy these overpriced toys! You’re like fanboys! I hate anything electric and I know that you are losing viewers because of your coverage. That includes me so bhbye!
A: Bummer bro.
Anyway, we report on the automotive industry, which is heading into more EV territory. We’re simply showing everyone what’s new – and it mainly revolves around electrification. Every single major automaker has, or will have an EV in their stable very soon. Those are the facts.
Should we not report this? The things is, we cover a lot of other stuff too. I mean, from muscle cars, to Harleys and even massive trucks – we cover them all. Yes, EVs and PHEVs are big in the news right now – so we are keeping up with the times.
At the same time, we bought a fire-breathing Ram TRX, badass Ford Raptor, Jeep Gladiator (that we’re selling) and more – to shoot fun videos. A lot of them. I noticed you didn’t mention these. How about an old Dodge Ram, 2004 Ford F-150 and Chevrolet pickup truck? Bought those for videos too. Also, our Baby Yota (old Tacoma) project and 1960’s Ford 4×4? Yep, we bought those for videos.
I know you’re frustrated with the future being electrified; I get it. We are trying to cover the future, the present and the past with ALL vehicles – or as many as we can cover. Blaming us doesn’t change the fact that things are changing, and we’re simply covering it. Some of the change – like Stellantis dumping SRT – hurts us too.
Maybe, one day, you can forgive us.
Speaking of EV news…