Test Drive

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe spent his weekend winter testing the R1T

Rivian vehicles are currently undergoing winter weather testing.

Photo composite by AutomotiveMap, screen image courtesy of Twitter/@RJScaringe

On Sunday night, while you were on the couch missing football and pretending not to watch HGTV reruns of "House Hunters", Rivian's RJ Scaringe was out working with the engineering team that's developing the company's R1T and R1S all-electric vehicles. He posted about it on Twitter.

Scaringe, who is pretty open about the product development process on Twitter, described what they were doing saying that he was working on "developing traction control for some of our more fun driving modes". The one in particular that was shown in the video is Drift mode.

No internal combustion truck or SUV features a specific Drift mode straight off the line from the company. A combination of button switches and screen selections can get you something similar in many vehicles, namely the ones that let you disengage traction control.

Tesla's Track Mode V2 allows owners to adjust their vehicle's drive dynamics in a similar way.

While driving, Scaringe shows off the truck's fully-digital driver information display, which shows that the truck is traveling around 30 mph as it makes its way across the snow-covered track. The navigation screen is also on display showcasing a vivid picture of what the area looks like in more hospital temperatures.

The footage is shown as one of Rivian's electric utility vehicle rivals, the GMC Hummer EV has begun promoting its testing regimen in the snow.

Earlier in the day, Rivian's corporate Twitter account showed footage of the snow testing alongside other captured moments of the R1T and R1S including an intriguing water fording test and mountain climbing.

The company has been continuously giving updates regarding its development progress, even teasing the fact that its truck will be capable of a tank turn.

Rivian has released the footage as the company takes aim at its June 2021 scheduled deliveries start date. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors, the comany was unable to keep its original targeted delivery date for the first Rivian vehciles - late 2020.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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Dodge offers upgrades that push power to 885 ponies in some models.

Dodge

The world may be going electric, but Dodge is still offering plenty of support to owners of its famed Hellcat muscle cars. Today, the automaker announced a program to provide factory-backed performance parts for SRT Hellcat cars. The components can be ordered and installed by one of Dodge's "Power Broker" dealerships.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Dodge's packages include graphics for the Challenger.Dodge

Called Direct Connection, the service is Dodge's official source for performance parts and other components. Dodge offers two kits for Challenger SRT models: Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye cars can be upgraded to 885 horsepower and the standard Hellcat can be pushed to 750 ponies. In all, Direct Connection offers 14 kits for the Challenger and 13 race-ready kits. There are also four graphics packages for the Challenger Mopar Drag Park model.

Because of their connections with the company that designed and built the cars in the first place, factory-backed tuning and performance operations are usually top-notch. Dodge's program offers live technical support and an online catalog that allows users to mix and match performance parts using the site's "recipes." All parts that are installed or replaced by a certified Dodge dealer do not interfere with the cars' three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty or the five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Direct Connection Challenger Performance Parts | Dodge youtu.be

If Dodge-approved performance parts get you excited, you don't have long left to wait. The kits will go on sale late in the first quarter of 2022. The Dodge Power Brokers dealer network will also start around that time.

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