If you’re in the market for a three-row electric SUV in the United States, your choices are quite limited at the moment.
The most obvious choices—if money is not an object—are the Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S. The Model X starts at around $127,500 while the R1S is priced from $92,000. These are very spacious and capable vehicles, although very different from one another. They are essentially the only two major players in the large luxury three-row electric SUV segment at the moment.
There’s also a much more affordable alternative, the Mercedes-Benz EQB, which starts at just under $55,000. However, this is a compact model, so it’s significantly less roomy and capable than the Model X and R1S. The Model Y also offers a seven-seat option, but the third-row seats are strictly for small kids.
More three-row electric SUVs are on the way, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, a direct competitor for the Tesla and Rivian, and the VinFast VF 9. But if you want to take delivery of your three-row electric SUV in a reasonable amount of time, the Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S (if you’re lucky) are the only options at the moment.
To see how these two heavyweights compare, Edmunds has pitted the Model X Plaid against the R1S for a thorough evaluation. Ryan ZumMallen is taking a close look at these SUV’s interiors, practicality and cargo compartments (both have frunks in addition to trunks), and then takes them for a drive on the road and track—there’s no drag race, though.
We won’t spoil the video for you, but some things are pretty obvious from the get-go. For example, the boxy Rivian clearly beats the Tesla when it comes to third-row space for adult passengers, as well as cargo volume. The quad-motor, multi-adjustable R1S is also the better vehicle off-road, without a question, not to mention it’s almost $50,000 cheaper.
On the other hand, the Model S Plaid is quicker, more efficient, more refined on the road, and it has better software. It’s the better vehicle right now, ZumMallen believes, but the price premium over the R1S is its biggest drawback. In the end, the reviewer says both vehicles feel half-baked, but you’ll have to watch the video to find out why.