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This is a long post, but figured I'd share all the reasoning behind my decision for those that might be struggling with the same choices. For many, likely for several of the same reasons....

Have been struggling with making a decision on which to get, Rivian R1T or the Lightning since the Ford became available to reserve one year ago. Because I couldn't decide, it was more likely going to come down to which one I could get first. Apparently by pure coincidence, Rivian just called to finalize my order and says I should have it within the next 4-8 weeks. My F-150 is in production this week and likely to arrive at very nearly the same time.

Both great EV trucks, but built for different purposes. I've said before, if Ford would have done a Raptor style Lightning, I wouldn't have had to think about it. Now that both will be available to me at the same time, that's no longer helpful in making a decision. My bullet points that I struggled with most are as follows.....

1. Styling: I like the off-road oriented styling of the Rivian, although not a fan of the front end. While it was 100% Ford's intention, the Lightning basically looking like every other F-150 is not appealing to me. Being 1 in 1,000,000 or 1 in 50,000. But, not a deal breaker. If I had to choose just on styling through, the Rivian wins. (Rivian +1)

2. Size: I prefer the sizing of the Rivian due to easier maneuverability, but prefer the added space the Lightning provides, including the much larger frunk, rear seat and interior storage space. Obviously the Lightning is larger. So, is that extra space worth having to drive a notably larger vehicle? While Rivian's gear tunnel is cool, it's smaller when you see it in person. That combined with the awkward shape, does limit what it will be able to be used for. I personally wish Rivian would have eliminated that to provide larger rear seat space and maybe even a little more bed space. Still on the fence as both are different. If I had to choose based on this alone, I still can't make a decision. Both are so appealing in their own right, but both require sacrifices. Rivian would have won if the gear tunnel was eliminated. (Rivian still +1)

3. Bed Size: I'm OK with the small bed size of the Rivian ,but in person, again it looks and feels pretty small. At 4 1/2 feet, it is pretty small. Not a deal breaker, but if I'm going to have a truck, the extra bed space makes sense. Again though, sacrificing the preferred smaller overall size of the Rivian to get it. Still on the fence for the same reason. above. (Rivian still +1)

4. Frunk: Ford's frunk wins hands down. The front grille opening with it is far more appealing. This, without considering the size difference as that's covered in 1 and 2. If both were the same size, the Ford wins hands down. (Overall Tie)

5. Driver Friendly controls: Having driven Tesla's for several years now, I've experienced the shift to these minimalist interiors with most controls being from the center screen. Elon Musk designed the Model 3 to be driverless, thus it has no physical buttons. A real paint and distracting have to look at the center screen for everything. The revised Model S doubled down and is the primary reason I won't consider another one. We still have to DRIVE these vehicles. I'm in and out of vehicle multiple times a day. For those that just go to and from work, maybe not noticed as much. But, I really do notice these features. My pre-refresh Model S is a good blend of both. I tried the Model 3 and hated it. Dumped the car 2 months in and when back to the 2019 Model S. Rivian followed the Model 3 footprint. For me personally, a BIG turnoff. Ford has provided a blend similar to the Model S. Their advantage is, at least they leave many of the commonly used features front and center on the screen so you don't have go tapping through menus just to turn on the windshield wipers or open the glove box. Ford's steering wheel offers so many user friendly buttons that you can simply feel and instinctively use without looking. Rivian & Tesla force you to distract yourself from DRIVING to LOOK at the screen to operate features that should be so simple, yet are made complicated. Ford wins this hands down by a country mile. In my plus 1, minus one running total, this one is worth a +2 for me personally. I really hated the Model 3 and Rivian is quite similar. Running total (Ford +2).

6. Suspension: Adjustable air suspension has been a must have item for me since experiencing the benefits of the Model S. Was really disappointed to find that Ford isn't offering it on the Lightning. Every other EV truck appears will have it. This is an equally big one for me personally. Being able to raise the Rivian for off-road use is a big plus. Or lower it for highway travel. Or adjust the ride quality. I really struggled with this factor and comes very close to being a deal breaker for the Ford. Until this week, having no reviews of the Ford ride quality, made it unknown. However, the reviews this week have assured me that the Ford is a cushy ride. It's a truck, not a sports car. For my personal uses, I prefer the softer, cushier suspension settings I have with air suspension. So, having heard this, it at least prevents it from being a complete deal breaker for me (personal preference). The Rivian air suspension still scores huge in my book at a +2 (as does Chevy or GMC), but at least now knowing that the Ford as a softer, tolerable ride, I will at least now consider it. Running total (Back to Even).

7. Self-Drive Features: I've come to LOVE auto-pilot on the Tesla. I have the Beta Full Self Drive, but rarely use it. I primarily use it on the Freeway. In this respect, while Rivian is supposed to have such features in the future, at this time, Ford's Blue Cruise is more refined than Rivian's "Driver+" capability. Rivian also isn't offering true Hands-Free driving. Tesla has been working on this tech FOREVER. It's not easy to accomplish. FSD was supposed to be ready 4 years ago. It's still not ready in the Tesla. It's there, but can't trust it by any means. Rivian will get there, but with Ford being able to develop its system by selling millions of vehicles, it's more refined and will improve faster than Rivian will be able to with it's for lower production numbers. Ford wins this round (Ford +1).

8. Tonneau Cover: I love that Rivian includes an automatic retractable Tonneau cover. Not even available to order on the Ford, thus will have to go aftermarket. Rivian wins this round (Back to Even).

9. Air Compressor: I love that Rivian has included an air compressor. Great for filling your tires. I have been stranded in the middle of the desert before with a flat and it was not fun. Such a feature would have saved me 23 hours!! Fortunately, both have spare tires (optional on the Rivian). I do much prefer Ford's placement of the spare tire underneath rather than in the bed. But, won't knock Rivian for this as it "should" be something that's rarely needed. Could knock of a point for the fact that you have to pay $600 extra for it, but at least it's an option. So, still giving Rivian the point here as the air compressor could come in handy for other uses, especially trips to the lake. Running total (Rivian +1).

10. Service / Repair Cost / Capability: Rivian offering mobile service for all items that can be done remotely is a very nice feature. Them coming to you to fix your vehicle is great. Have experienced it with Tesla and it's very nice not having to take the vehicle into a dealer and find a ride home. Could give Rivian a "+1" here. But, am lumping all service rated factors into one category. Thus, have to also include cost and time to repair in this category. From experience with Tesla, repairing a Tesla is far more expensive than repair costs for most cars. Aside from cost, parts availability is going to be an issue for Rivian. With far fewer vehicles, some repairs will likely take over a month. They still do on Tesla's in some cases. Ford is certainly going to have better parts availability. It being mass produced, will also result in equivalent repairs being less costly for the Ford.

Starting to see my dilemma? Different vehicles with different capabilities. Both offer features I love and really want. Unfortunately, can't get them all combined into one vehicle. Chevy appears will come quite close with the Silverado and it's certainly on the table when it does eventually come to market. Ford is going to create an all new truck designed from the ground up as an EV and will likely satisfy all of these as well. However, The Chevy is due in 2024, the Ford will be 2025/2026. I'm looking at what's available NOW (or in the near future). What “must haves” am I willing to sacrifice as I have to sacrifice some of them with either choice.

The Ford was again, almost out of the running for me due to the air suspension. However, I got to drive the Lucid Air, which shockingly, doesn't offer air suspension either. They however, created a nice ride with coil springs. Between a Tesla and Lucid, would have to go with the Tesla through. This week’s reviews made it possible for me put the Ford back in the running.

#11. Battery Back-Up Options (Use truck as a generator). This is ultimately what puts me over the edge. FORD WINS. I have been ready to consider Solar and Tesla Power Walls for my home. Tesla Power Walls are about $11,000 for 13 kWh. ($846 per kWh). For me to make it work as preferred, I'd need 5 Power Walls at $55,000 (Plus installation) to satisfy my power needs at home. For $81,000, I get 131 kWh worth of batteries in the Ford ($618 per kWh) and I get a truck to go with it! That means I can take my "Power Walls" with me to go camping, work sites to power my site for the day. Thus, get multiple uses out of it. If I were just buying it for this purpose, then could get the cheap Pro Version of the Ford for $40,000 and still get 98 kWh of battery which brings the cost down to just $408 per kWh. Well under half the cost of the Power Walls. But, this is a personal vehicle, so upgrading to the Lariat. But, would be worth it to buy a Ford Pro for $40,000 for just home use over spending $55,000 for less capacity in the Tesla Power Walls.

#11(a). Ford puts out 9.6 kilowatts in power. Rivian puts out just 1,500 kilowatts. Good for light use, but certainly not going to be powering your home or RV while on the road. Ford wins round 11 & 11(a) BIG. Just this capability alone is a +3 in my book, bringing the final score to: Ford +2.

While my personal driving preference as a daily use vehicle would be the Rivian due to its size and better maneuverability and I prefer its overall off-road oriented styling, I have to consider all aspects. While a sacrifice in cases of tight parking or U-turns on tight winding roads, the added utility of Ford's larger size with Frunk, bed and rear seat leg room are enough to offset the sacrifice.

The air suspension is still very hard for me personally to give up. But, being that I like a cushier ride, I think I can live with the Ford. The tonneau cover and air compressor features can be cured by going after-market. Rivian's inferior self-drive features and lack of Home Back Up power are not curable with the Rivian. Rivian's choice to have almost everything controlled from the center screen is also not curable. Again, in terms of styling, I can always go aftermarket and raise the Ford and put more off-road oriented wheels and tires on it, making the styling aspect curable as well. I mean, could put air springs on the Ford to if I really wanted to. I did it with my Expedition many years ago (purchased air springs from a Lincoln Navigator).

So, pretty much all of the things that the Ford is lacking, aside from having to live with driving a bigger vehicle, are curable, whereas the Rivian's inefficiencies are not. Simply put, aside from this factor, the Ford simply offers more value for basically the same price. And that's based on me getting in at Rivian's original pricing. Their prices jumped 20% on March 1st. If I was at that price point, then this wouldn't have been a discussion either. The Rivian is a great offering. But, at $90,000+, it becomes a tough sell for a smaller vehicle with less capabilities. If off-roading is a primary aspect to you, then absolutely, the Rivian wins. Although, at $90,000+, with the extra money, you could modify the Ford to be almost equally capable off-road. That's another advantage to the Ford. Many truck owners want to "personalize" their trucks with accessories and/or after-market options. There are a million available for the Ford as most are interchangeable with the gas version. With over 750,000 trucks sold per year, there's no shortage of after-market options available to make the Ford your own to suit your personal preferences. Such options will come for the Rivian, but just as with the Tesla 9 years later, despite their high sales figures, the options are still quite limited.

So, after more than one year of wrestling with this decision, one in which I had been leaning toward the Rivian during that time period, ultimately, the FORD WINS.

Again, for my personal preferences. I know it's a long post, but figured I'd share for anyone with the same dilemma. Basically, it all came down to confirmation that the Ford's coil spring suspension offers the ride quality I am personally seeking. That was another reason I hated the Model 3. It's suspension was so stiff and more sports car like, I felt like I needed new teeth after driving it. The Model S and it's refined air suspension in 2019 was a HUGE difference. That alone was worth it to spend the extra money on the Model S over the Model 3. In a truck, the adjustable air suspension is a luxury item. If the Ford rode like a stiff Truck that jars your teeth out on rough roads (which I commonly end up on in my business) that would have been the deal breaker for me.

So, I'm going with the Ford and will enjoy it at least, until the Silverado comes out. But, by then, we'll have more details on the Dodge Ram and more importantly, the new version of the truck Ford is planning to build. The F-150 Lightning should do well as an in-between for the next 2-3 years until we have a more competitive market of trucks available to us.
 

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Best of luck with the decision, I don't think you'll regret it. We have 2 Model 3's because I wouldn't give up my 2014 F-150 when the 3 debuted However after the first 3, it was a struggle, but I wanted to drive that car every day so I traded the 2014 truck for a second 3. I have loved it for 4 years. I am now scared of leaving the 3 and Tesla technology to go back to Ford, but I'm doing it. This truck should hold its value well for 2 to 3 years, especially while they are in short supply. If it doesn't work out for me, I'll hope like hell the Cybertruck is on the road by then.

The Rivian was never a consideration for me. I grew up driving pickups and lived in the country, we had some cows, hauled hay, etc. It is a personal thing, but if I'm going to drive a pickup, I have no need for 1/2 of one - I want a full size pickup.

I will note that my 2014 F-150 rode a bit easier and was quieter than the 3. It has been refined a time or two since then and I don't think for every day use we'll ever think about needing air suspension (I've never had a vehicle with it). It might have been that nice extra touch and be nice for hooking up a trailer, but every day use it will likely never be missed.
 

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This is a long post, but figured I'd share all the reasoning behind my decision for those that might be struggling with the same choices. For many, likely for several of the same reasons....

Have been struggling with making a decision on which to get, Rivian R1T or the Lightning since the Ford became available to reserve one year ago. Because I couldn't decide, it was more likely going to come down to which one I could get first. Apparently by pure coincidence, Rivian just called to finalize my order and says I should have it within the next 4-8 weeks. My F-150 is in production this week and likely to arrive at very nearly the same time.

Both great EV trucks, but built for different purposes. I've said before, if Ford would have done a Raptor style Lightning, I wouldn't have had to think about it. Now that both will be available to me at the same time, that's no longer helpful in making a decision. My bullet points that I struggled with most are as follows.....

1. Styling: I like the off-road oriented styling of the Rivian, although not a fan of the front end. While it was 100% Ford's intention, the Lightning basically looking like every other F-150 is not appealing to me. Being 1 in 1,000,000 or 1 in 50,000. But, not a deal breaker. If I had to choose just on styling through, the Rivian wins. (Rivian +1)

2. Size: I prefer the sizing of the Rivian due to easier maneuverability, but prefer the added space the Lightning provides, including the much larger frunk, rear seat and interior storage space. Obviously the Lightning is larger. So, is that extra space worth having to drive a notably larger vehicle? While Rivian's gear tunnel is cool, it's smaller when you see it in person. That combined with the awkward shape, does limit what it will be able to be used for. I personally wish Rivian would have eliminated that to provide larger rear seat space and maybe even a little more bed space. Still on the fence as both are different. If I had to choose based on this alone, I still can't make a decision. Both are so appealing in their own right, but both require sacrifices. Rivian would have won if the gear tunnel was eliminated. (Rivian still +1)

3. Bed Size: I'm OK with the small bed size of the Rivian ,but in person, again it looks and feels pretty small. At 4 1/2 feet, it is pretty small. Not a deal breaker, but if I'm going to have a truck, the extra bed space makes sense. Again though, sacrificing the preferred smaller overall size of the Rivian to get it. Still on the fence for the same reason. above. (Rivian still +1)

4. Frunk: Ford's frunk wins hands down. The front grille opening with it is far more appealing. This, without considering the size difference as that's covered in 1 and 2. If both were the same size, the Ford wins hands down. (Overall Tie)

5. Driver Friendly controls: Having driven Tesla's for several years now, I've experienced the shift to these minimalist interiors with most controls being from the center screen. Elon Musk designed the Model 3 to be driverless, thus it has no physical buttons. A real paint and distracting have to look at the center screen for everything. The revised Model S doubled down and is the primary reason I won't consider another one. We still have to DRIVE these vehicles. I'm in and out of vehicle multiple times a day. For those that just go to and from work, maybe not noticed as much. But, I really do notice these features. My pre-refresh Model S is a good blend of both. I tried the Model 3 and hated it. Dumped the car 2 months in and when back to the 2019 Model S. Rivian followed the Model 3 footprint. For me personally, a BIG turnoff. Ford has provided a blend similar to the Model S. Their advantage is, at least they leave many of the commonly used features front and center on the screen so you don't have go tapping through menus just to turn on the windshield wipers or open the glove box. Ford's steering wheel offers so many user friendly buttons that you can simply feel and instinctively use without looking. Rivian & Tesla force you to distract yourself from DRIVING to LOOK at the screen to operate features that should be so simple, yet are made complicated. Ford wins this hands down by a country mile. In my plus 1, minus one running total, this one is worth a +2 for me personally. I really hated the Model 3 and Rivian is quite similar. Running total (Ford +2).

6. Suspension: Adjustable air suspension has been a must have item for me since experiencing the benefits of the Model S. Was really disappointed to find that Ford isn't offering it on the Lightning. Every other EV truck appears will have it. This is an equally big one for me personally. Being able to raise the Rivian for off-road use is a big plus. Or lower it for highway travel. Or adjust the ride quality. I really struggled with this factor and comes very close to being a deal breaker for the Ford. Until this week, having no reviews of the Ford ride quality, made it unknown. However, the reviews this week have assured me that the Ford is a cushy ride. It's a truck, not a sports car. For my personal uses, I prefer the softer, cushier suspension settings I have with air suspension. So, having heard this, it at least prevents it from being a complete deal breaker for me (personal preference). The Rivian air suspension still scores huge in my book at a +2 (as does Chevy or GMC), but at least now knowing that the Ford as a softer, tolerable ride, I will at least now consider it. Running total (Back to Even).

7. Self-Drive Features: I've come to LOVE auto-pilot on the Tesla. I have the Beta Full Self Drive, but rarely use it. I primarily use it on the Freeway. In this respect, while Rivian is supposed to have such features in the future, at this time, Ford's Blue Cruise is more refined than Rivian's "Driver+" capability. Rivian also isn't offering true Hands-Free driving. Tesla has been working on this tech FOREVER. It's not easy to accomplish. FSD was supposed to be ready 4 years ago. It's still not ready in the Tesla. It's there, but can't trust it by any means. Rivian will get there, but with Ford being able to develop its system by selling millions of vehicles, it's more refined and will improve faster than Rivian will be able to with it's for lower production numbers. Ford wins this round (Ford +1).

8. Tonneau Cover: I love that Rivian includes an automatic retractable Tonneau cover. Not even available to order on the Ford, thus will have to go aftermarket. Rivian wins this round (Back to Even).

9. Air Compressor: I love that Rivian has included an air compressor. Great for filling your tires. I have been stranded in the middle of the desert before with a flat and it was not fun. Such a feature would have saved me 23 hours!! Fortunately, both have spare tires (optional on the Rivian). I do much prefer Ford's placement of the spare tire underneath rather than in the bed. But, won't knock Rivian for this as it "should" be something that's rarely needed. Could knock of a point for the fact that you have to pay $600 extra for it, but at least it's an option. So, still giving Rivian the point here as the air compressor could come in handy for other uses, especially trips to the lake. Running total (Rivian +1).

10. Service / Repair Cost / Capability: Rivian offering mobile service for all items that can be done remotely is a very nice feature. Them coming to you to fix your vehicle is great. Have experienced it with Tesla and it's very nice not having to take the vehicle into a dealer and find a ride home. Could give Rivian a "+1" here. But, am lumping all service rated factors into one category. Thus, have to also include cost and time to repair in this category. From experience with Tesla, repairing a Tesla is far more expensive than repair costs for most cars. Aside from cost, parts availability is going to be an issue for Rivian. With far fewer vehicles, some repairs will likely take over a month. They still do on Tesla's in some cases. Ford is certainly going to have better parts availability. It being mass produced, will also result in equivalent repairs being less costly for the Ford.

Starting to see my dilemma? Different vehicles with different capabilities. Both offer features I love and really want. Unfortunately, can't get them all combined into one vehicle. Chevy appears will come quite close with the Silverado and it's certainly on the table when it does eventually come to market. Ford is going to create an all new truck designed from the ground up as an EV and will likely satisfy all of these as well. However, The Chevy is due in 2024, the Ford will be 2025/2026. I'm looking at what's available NOW (or in the near future). What “must haves” am I willing to sacrifice as I have to sacrifice some of them with either choice.

The Ford was again, almost out of the running for me due to the air suspension. However, I got to drive the Lucid Air, which shockingly, doesn't offer air suspension either. They however, created a nice ride with coil springs. Between a Tesla and Lucid, would have to go with the Tesla through. This week’s reviews made it possible for me put the Ford back in the running.

#11. Battery Back-Up Options (Use truck as a generator). This is ultimately what puts me over the edge. FORD WINS. I have been ready to consider Solar and Tesla Power Walls for my home. Tesla Power Walls are about $11,000 for 13 kWh. ($846 per kWh). For me to make it work as preferred, I'd need 5 Power Walls at $55,000 (Plus installation) to satisfy my power needs at home. For $81,000, I get 131 kWh worth of batteries in the Ford ($618 per kWh) and I get a truck to go with it! That means I can take my "Power Walls" with me to go camping, work sites to power my site for the day. Thus, get multiple uses out of it. If I were just buying it for this purpose, then could get the cheap Pro Version of the Ford for $40,000 and still get 98 kWh of battery which brings the cost down to just $408 per kWh. Well under half the cost of the Power Walls. But, this is a personal vehicle, so upgrading to the Lariat. But, would be worth it to buy a Ford Pro for $40,000 for just home use over spending $55,000 for less capacity in the Tesla Power Walls.

#11(a). Ford puts out 9.6 kilowatts in power. Rivian puts out just 1,500 kilowatts. Good for light use, but certainly not going to be powering your home or RV while on the road. Ford wins round 11 & 11(a) BIG. Just this capability alone is a +3 in my book, bringing the final score to: Ford +2.

While my personal driving preference as a daily use vehicle would be the Rivian due to its size and better maneuverability and I prefer its overall off-road oriented styling, I have to consider all aspects. While a sacrifice in cases of tight parking or U-turns on tight winding roads, the added utility of Ford's larger size with Frunk, bed and rear seat leg room are enough to offset the sacrifice.

The air suspension is still very hard for me personally to give up. But, being that I like a cushier ride, I think I can live with the Ford. The tonneau cover and air compressor features can be cured by going after-market. Rivian's inferior self-drive features and lack of Home Back Up power are not curable with the Rivian. Rivian's choice to have almost everything controlled from the center screen is also not curable. Again, in terms of styling, I can always go aftermarket and raise the Ford and put more off-road oriented wheels and tires on it, making the styling aspect curable as well. I mean, could put air springs on the Ford to if I really wanted to. I did it with my Expedition many years ago (purchased air springs from a Lincoln Navigator).

So, pretty much all of the things that the Ford is lacking, aside from having to live with driving a bigger vehicle, are curable, whereas the Rivian's inefficiencies are not. Simply put, aside from this factor, the Ford simply offers more value for basically the same price. And that's based on me getting in at Rivian's original pricing. Their prices jumped 20% on March 1st. If I was at that price point, then this wouldn't have been a discussion either. The Rivian is a great offering. But, at $90,000+, it becomes a tough sell for a smaller vehicle with less capabilities. If off-roading is a primary aspect to you, then absolutely, the Rivian wins. Although, at $90,000+, with the extra money, you could modify the Ford to be almost equally capable off-road. That's another advantage to the Ford. Many truck owners want to "personalize" their trucks with accessories and/or after-market options. There are a million available for the Ford as most are interchangeable with the gas version. With over 750,000 trucks sold per year, there's no shortage of after-market options available to make the Ford your own to suit your personal preferences. Such options will come for the Rivian, but just as with the Tesla 9 years later, despite their high sales figures, the options are still quite limited.

So, after more than one year of wrestling with this decision, one in which I had been leaning toward the Rivian during that time period, ultimately, the FORD WINS.

Again, for my personal preferences. I know it's a long post, but figured I'd share for anyone with the same dilemma. Basically, it all came down to confirmation that the Ford's coil spring suspension offers the ride quality I am personally seeking. That was another reason I hated the Model 3. It's suspension was so stiff and more sports car like, I felt like I needed new teeth after driving it. The Model S and it's refined air suspension in 2019 was a HUGE difference. That alone was worth it to spend the extra money on the Model S over the Model 3. In a truck, the adjustable air suspension is a luxury item. If the Ford rode like a stiff Truck that jars your teeth out on rough roads (which I commonly end up on in my business) that would have been the deal breaker for me.

So, I'm going with the Ford and will enjoy it at least, until the Silverado comes out. But, by then, we'll have more details on the Dodge Ram and more importantly, the new version of the truck Ford is planning to build. The F-150 Lightning should do well as an in-between for the next 2-3 years until we have a more competitive market of trucks available to us.
Very in-depth analysis. we have a Model 3 (2018) and I agree the ride is a bit stiff. Just sold our Honda Pilot which was used primarily to haul the camper and dump runs. We’ll be trading in our Lincoln MKZ Hybrid on the truck and we will be all electric. Now, if I can just get a production date for the Lariat I ordered on2/3.
 

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They're both great trucks and I also have a reservation for an R1T with the Max Pack. Here's some more opinion that should make you more secure with your decision to go with the Lightning:

6. I'd also prefer to have an air suspension on the lightning but I don't think it's the be-all-end-all. We have an air suspension on our I-Pace and our Ram 1500. The Ram's air suspension gets used rarely--the default height is enough to get us to the deer stand.

7. Rivian can't do lane centering on unmapped roads whereas the F150 can. You need to have your hands on the wheel in those cases, but it does add some versatility.

8. The power tonneau covers eat into the cargo capacity significantly and are hard to remove if you need the extra space in a pinch. I think I'm going to be happy with a foldable or rollable-type cover.

9. You can get a DeWalt portable tire inflator for $150 and throw it in the frunk. It's probably easier than dealing with the long hose on the R1T, honestly.

Other: Tons of aftermarket parts for the Lightning right out of the gate, power tailgate, wireless AA/CarPlay, moonroof that opens, ostensibly better thermal management in the Lightning...

That said, I was traveling through Central Illinois yesterday and saw two R1Ts on the road and 4 on a transport trailer. They really are beautiful vehicles. Made me more excited for my Lightning delivery and for seeing more electric trucks on the road.
Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Car Land vehicle
 

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7. Rivian can't do lane centering on unmapped roads whereas the F150 can. You need to have your hands on the wheel in those cases, but it does add some versatility.
Not only can the F-150 do lane centering - you can force it to the left hand or right hand side of the lane. This could be an awesome feature when driving a road with worn out tracks right in the center of the lane. We've all driven them - move to the left or to the right in the lane and you get a much better ride.
 

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6. I'd also prefer to have an air suspension on the lightning but I don't think it's the be-all-end-all. We have an air suspension on our I-Pace and our Ram 1500. The Ram's air suspension gets used rarely--the default height is enough to get us to the deer stand.

9. You can get a DeWalt portable tire inflator for $150 and throw it in the frunk. It's probably easier than dealing with the long hose on the R1T, honestly.
This is why I don't count the Lightning not having these against it. Air suspension is nice but, especially as a truck, I can't see using it often at all. I've never been offroading. The only air suspension I want is on my Mustang GT cause it is too low and I have scrap issues when I put it in my garage.

And the in bed compressor? I have a portal air compressor already.

A lot of these additions are just nice to haves and barely that. The Rivian has to show off more to gain interest. Ford made the Lightning affordable. I really do agree with Kyle from Out of Spec that the pro SR is the best value ev. Plus when you count in that you can get aftermarket seats so that they can be more comfortable. They are going after truck people, not ev people.
 

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This is a long post, but figured I'd share all the reasoning behind my decision for those that might be struggling with the same choices. For many, likely for several of the same reasons....

Have been struggling with making a decision on which to get, Rivian R1T or the Lightning since the Ford became available to reserve one year ago. Because I couldn't decide, it was more likely going to come down to which one I could get first. Apparently by pure coincidence, Rivian just called to finalize my order and says I should have it within the next 4-8 weeks. My F-150 is in production this week and likely to arrive at very nearly the same time.

Both great EV trucks, but built for different purposes. I've said before, if Ford would have done a Raptor style Lightning, I wouldn't have had to think about it. Now that both will be available to me at the same time, that's no longer helpful in making a decision. My bullet points that I struggled with most are as follows.....

1. Styling: I like the off-road oriented styling of the Rivian, although not a fan of the front end. While it was 100% Ford's intention, the Lightning basically looking like every other F-150 is not appealing to me. Being 1 in 1,000,000 or 1 in 50,000. But, not a deal breaker. If I had to choose just on styling through, the Rivian wins. (Rivian +1)

2. Size: I prefer the sizing of the Rivian due to easier maneuverability, but prefer the added space the Lightning provides, including the much larger frunk, rear seat and interior storage space. Obviously the Lightning is larger. So, is that extra space worth having to drive a notably larger vehicle? While Rivian's gear tunnel is cool, it's smaller when you see it in person. That combined with the awkward shape, does limit what it will be able to be used for. I personally wish Rivian would have eliminated that to provide larger rear seat space and maybe even a little more bed space. Still on the fence as both are different. If I had to choose based on this alone, I still can't make a decision. Both are so appealing in their own right, but both require sacrifices. Rivian would have won if the gear tunnel was eliminated. (Rivian still +1)

3. Bed Size: I'm OK with the small bed size of the Rivian ,but in person, again it looks and feels pretty small. At 4 1/2 feet, it is pretty small. Not a deal breaker, but if I'm going to have a truck, the extra bed space makes sense. Again though, sacrificing the preferred smaller overall size of the Rivian to get it. Still on the fence for the same reason. above. (Rivian still +1)

4. Frunk: Ford's frunk wins hands down. The front grille opening with it is far more appealing. This, without considering the size difference as that's covered in 1 and 2. If both were the same size, the Ford wins hands down. (Overall Tie)

5. Driver Friendly controls: Having driven Tesla's for several years now, I've experienced the shift to these minimalist interiors with most controls being from the center screen. Elon Musk designed the Model 3 to be driverless, thus it has no physical buttons. A real paint and distracting have to look at the center screen for everything. The revised Model S doubled down and is the primary reason I won't consider another one. We still have to DRIVE these vehicles. I'm in and out of vehicle multiple times a day. For those that just go to and from work, maybe not noticed as much. But, I really do notice these features. My pre-refresh Model S is a good blend of both. I tried the Model 3 and hated it. Dumped the car 2 months in and when back to the 2019 Model S. Rivian followed the Model 3 footprint. For me personally, a BIG turnoff. Ford has provided a blend similar to the Model S. Their advantage is, at least they leave many of the commonly used features front and center on the screen so you don't have go tapping through menus just to turn on the windshield wipers or open the glove box. Ford's steering wheel offers so many user friendly buttons that you can simply feel and instinctively use without looking. Rivian & Tesla force you to distract yourself from DRIVING to LOOK at the screen to operate features that should be so simple, yet are made complicated. Ford wins this hands down by a country mile. In my plus 1, minus one running total, this one is worth a +2 for me personally. I really hated the Model 3 and Rivian is quite similar. Running total (Ford +2).

6. Suspension: Adjustable air suspension has been a must have item for me since experiencing the benefits of the Model S. Was really disappointed to find that Ford isn't offering it on the Lightning. Every other EV truck appears will have it. This is an equally big one for me personally. Being able to raise the Rivian for off-road use is a big plus. Or lower it for highway travel. Or adjust the ride quality. I really struggled with this factor and comes very close to being a deal breaker for the Ford. Until this week, having no reviews of the Ford ride quality, made it unknown. However, the reviews this week have assured me that the Ford is a cushy ride. It's a truck, not a sports car. For my personal uses, I prefer the softer, cushier suspension settings I have with air suspension. So, having heard this, it at least prevents it from being a complete deal breaker for me (personal preference). The Rivian air suspension still scores huge in my book at a +2 (as does Chevy or GMC), but at least now knowing that the Ford as a softer, tolerable ride, I will at least now consider it. Running total (Back to Even).

7. Self-Drive Features: I've come to LOVE auto-pilot on the Tesla. I have the Beta Full Self Drive, but rarely use it. I primarily use it on the Freeway. In this respect, while Rivian is supposed to have such features in the future, at this time, Ford's Blue Cruise is more refined than Rivian's "Driver+" capability. Rivian also isn't offering true Hands-Free driving. Tesla has been working on this tech FOREVER. It's not easy to accomplish. FSD was supposed to be ready 4 years ago. It's still not ready in the Tesla. It's there, but can't trust it by any means. Rivian will get there, but with Ford being able to develop its system by selling millions of vehicles, it's more refined and will improve faster than Rivian will be able to with it's for lower production numbers. Ford wins this round (Ford +1).

8. Tonneau Cover: I love that Rivian includes an automatic retractable Tonneau cover. Not even available to order on the Ford, thus will have to go aftermarket. Rivian wins this round (Back to Even).

9. Air Compressor: I love that Rivian has included an air compressor. Great for filling your tires. I have been stranded in the middle of the desert before with a flat and it was not fun. Such a feature would have saved me 23 hours!! Fortunately, both have spare tires (optional on the Rivian). I do much prefer Ford's placement of the spare tire underneath rather than in the bed. But, won't knock Rivian for this as it "should" be something that's rarely needed. Could knock of a point for the fact that you have to pay $600 extra for it, but at least it's an option. So, still giving Rivian the point here as the air compressor could come in handy for other uses, especially trips to the lake. Running total (Rivian +1).

10. Service / Repair Cost / Capability: Rivian offering mobile service for all items that can be done remotely is a very nice feature. Them coming to you to fix your vehicle is great. Have experienced it with Tesla and it's very nice not having to take the vehicle into a dealer and find a ride home. Could give Rivian a "+1" here. But, am lumping all service rated factors into one category. Thus, have to also include cost and time to repair in this category. From experience with Tesla, repairing a Tesla is far more expensive than repair costs for most cars. Aside from cost, parts availability is going to be an issue for Rivian. With far fewer vehicles, some repairs will likely take over a month. They still do on Tesla's in some cases. Ford is certainly going to have better parts availability. It being mass produced, will also result in equivalent repairs being less costly for the Ford.

Starting to see my dilemma? Different vehicles with different capabilities. Both offer features I love and really want. Unfortunately, can't get them all combined into one vehicle. Chevy appears will come quite close with the Silverado and it's certainly on the table when it does eventually come to market. Ford is going to create an all new truck designed from the ground up as an EV and will likely satisfy all of these as well. However, The Chevy is due in 2024, the Ford will be 2025/2026. I'm looking at what's available NOW (or in the near future). What “must haves” am I willing to sacrifice as I have to sacrifice some of them with either choice.

The Ford was again, almost out of the running for me due to the air suspension. However, I got to drive the Lucid Air, which shockingly, doesn't offer air suspension either. They however, created a nice ride with coil springs. Between a Tesla and Lucid, would have to go with the Tesla through. This week’s reviews made it possible for me put the Ford back in the running.

#11. Battery Back-Up Options (Use truck as a generator). This is ultimately what puts me over the edge. FORD WINS. I have been ready to consider Solar and Tesla Power Walls for my home. Tesla Power Walls are about $11,000 for 13 kWh. ($846 per kWh). For me to make it work as preferred, I'd need 5 Power Walls at $55,000 (Plus installation) to satisfy my power needs at home. For $81,000, I get 131 kWh worth of batteries in the Ford ($618 per kWh) and I get a truck to go with it! That means I can take my "Power Walls" with me to go camping, work sites to power my site for the day. Thus, get multiple uses out of it. If I were just buying it for this purpose, then could get the cheap Pro Version of the Ford for $40,000 and still get 98 kWh of battery which brings the cost down to just $408 per kWh. Well under half the cost of the Power Walls. But, this is a personal vehicle, so upgrading to the Lariat. But, would be worth it to buy a Ford Pro for $40,000 for just home use over spending $55,000 for less capacity in the Tesla Power Walls.

#11(a). Ford puts out 9.6 kilowatts in power. Rivian puts out just 1,500 kilowatts. Good for light use, but certainly not going to be powering your home or RV while on the road. Ford wins round 11 & 11(a) BIG. Just this capability alone is a +3 in my book, bringing the final score to: Ford +2.

While my personal driving preference as a daily use vehicle would be the Rivian due to its size and better maneuverability and I prefer its overall off-road oriented styling, I have to consider all aspects. While a sacrifice in cases of tight parking or U-turns on tight winding roads, the added utility of Ford's larger size with Frunk, bed and rear seat leg room are enough to offset the sacrifice.

The air suspension is still very hard for me personally to give up. But, being that I like a cushier ride, I think I can live with the Ford. The tonneau cover and air compressor features can be cured by going after-market. Rivian's inferior self-drive features and lack of Home Back Up power are not curable with the Rivian. Rivian's choice to have almost everything controlled from the center screen is also not curable. Again, in terms of styling, I can always go aftermarket and raise the Ford and put more off-road oriented wheels and tires on it, making the styling aspect curable as well. I mean, could put air springs on the Ford to if I really wanted to. I did it with my Expedition many years ago (purchased air springs from a Lincoln Navigator).

So, pretty much all of the things that the Ford is lacking, aside from having to live with driving a bigger vehicle, are curable, whereas the Rivian's inefficiencies are not. Simply put, aside from this factor, the Ford simply offers more value for basically the same price. And that's based on me getting in at Rivian's original pricing. Their prices jumped 20% on March 1st. If I was at that price point, then this wouldn't have been a discussion either. The Rivian is a great offering. But, at $90,000+, it becomes a tough sell for a smaller vehicle with less capabilities. If off-roading is a primary aspect to you, then absolutely, the Rivian wins. Although, at $90,000+, with the extra money, you could modify the Ford to be almost equally capable off-road. That's another advantage to the Ford. Many truck owners want to "personalize" their trucks with accessories and/or after-market options. There are a million available for the Ford as most are interchangeable with the gas version. With over 750,000 trucks sold per year, there's no shortage of after-market options available to make the Ford your own to suit your personal preferences. Such options will come for the Rivian, but just as with the Tesla 9 years later, despite their high sales figures, the options are still quite limited.

So, after more than one year of wrestling with this decision, one in which I had been leaning toward the Rivian during that time period, ultimately, the FORD WINS.

Again, for my personal preferences. I know it's a long post, but figured I'd share for anyone with the same dilemma. Basically, it all came down to confirmation that the Ford's coil spring suspension offers the ride quality I am personally seeking. That was another reason I hated the Model 3. It's suspension was so stiff and more sports car like, I felt like I needed new teeth after driving it. The Model S and it's refined air suspension in 2019 was a HUGE difference. That alone was worth it to spend the extra money on the Model S over the Model 3. In a truck, the adjustable air suspension is a luxury item. If the Ford rode like a stiff Truck that jars your teeth out on rough roads (which I commonly end up on in my business) that would have been the deal breaker for me.

So, I'm going with the Ford and will enjoy it at least, until the Silverado comes out. But, by then, we'll have more details on the Dodge Ram and more importantly, the new version of the truck Ford is planning to build. The F-150 Lightning should do well as an in-between for the next 2-3 years until we have a more competitive market of trucks available to us.
Nice analysis! Since each of us has different parameters, this is the sort of decision making process we should all go through.
 

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Ironically, Rivian just called today and confirmed my order. In fact, they upgraded me to a Launch Edition, which actually resulted in getting more and the price being less. Considering that it will easily sell for what I pay for it, I'm still going to go ahead and get it.

The surprising part though, I would have bet that Ford would be the first in my driveway. Having made both reservations over a year ago, it's amazing that both will likely arrive within a week or two of each other. Rivian stated I'm 4 weeks away from delivery. With the Ford delays, appears it may actually beat the Ford. Didn't really want to deal with buying both. However, now being that they're both coming so closely together, I guess I have the fortunate luxury of getting them both side by side and testing them out for a week or two before making a final, final decision. For all the same reasons, the Ford is the more practical choice. But, I do still prefer the look and drivability of the Rivian. Possibly, having both side by side in the driveway, I'll change my mind. But, unlikely.
 

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Great analysis.

I have a long history of owning F150's, then I upgraded to a F250 with heavy duty springs anticipating I might some day do 5th wheel towing, that never happened and for the last ten years I've endured a very stiff ride, now that I'm going back to a F150 with a softer yet capable IRS, it'll be like riding on a cloud.
 
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