the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire

This Cool New Electric SUV Will Offer a Feature Off-Roaders Should Love

August 25, 2019 Cars By
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The next few years are set to be some of the most exciting ones in quite some time for product-hungry off-road enthusiasts. Between the new Land Rover Defender, the new Ford Bronco (and its baby sibling), the next Toyota Land Cruiser and the host of all-but-guaranteed Jeep Gladiator variants that Fiat Chrysler is sure to crank out, overlanders, rock-crawlers and every other type of unpaved driving fan will have a wealth of new vehicles to drool over.

But the early 2020s will also mark the arrival of a whole new type of vehicle: the electric off-roader. Michigan-based upstart manufacturer Rivian is leading the charge (no pun intended) with its R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck. So far, much of the four-wheeler-friendly buzz around the company has focused on the R1T, thanks to details like the integrated pop-out kitchen revealed at the Overland West festival. Now, however, it’s the brand’s two-box SUV that’s grabbing attention, thanks to a whole bunch of interesting details the company has revealed about the R1S’s roof.

Last week, as CarBuzz first noticed, a Twitter user named Steven Ploem who claimed to have pre-registered for a R1S fired a question at Rivian, asking if the SUV would have a sliding roof. Rivian’s response revealed more than Steven probably bargained for:

“We will offer multiple roof styles including electrochromic glass (which turns from opaque to transparent on demand), a fixed glass panel, a two-piece removable composite roof and a standard fixed roof,” the company wrote on Twitter.

If you’re anything like us, your eyes probably locked onto that third option: the two-piece removable composite roof. Lacking further detail, this sounds something like Jeep’s Freedom Top found on the Gladiator and Wrangler — or rather, the front-most part of it, which can be unlatched to open up the front seats to the sky. (The Jeep version packs three pieces, as it also allows you to remove the entire roof.)

If that is indeed the case, the removable roof option will be a great way for Rivian to offer outdoors enthusiasts a chance to let even more of the natural world into their cars as they meander over hill and dale — especially seeing as how they’ll be doing so silently and without any emissions to spoil the scents of the wild.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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