Vehicle build quality, material quality, and fit and finish are hot topics among automotive experts and enthusiasts. This may be especially true in the case of new vehicles, and even more of a concern when it comes to vehicles produced by startup automakers.

That said, electric vehicle startup Rivian has impressed not only with its electric trucks' performance, technology, and interior accommodations, but also in terms of build quality and materials. However, that's not to say that owners haven't pointed out some flaws that are present upon closer inspection.

For years, Tesla has been under constant scrutiny for its EVs' build quality and paint. Our good friend Kyle Conner recently took delivery of a brand-new Tesla Model S Plaid, and one of the first things he did was to have its paint inspected.

In fact, Conner took the Model S to Clear Detailing in Windsor, Colorado, where his extremely knowledgeable friend Coleton Guerin took the time to inspect it very carefully. The two determined that Tesla is certainly making notable improvements to its paint quality and overall fit and finish. The two also had a Model 3 on hand, which impressed them as well.

As you may know, Conner also recently took delivery of a Rivian R1T electric pickup truck. Right around the same time he picked up his new Model S Plaid, it was also time to become the proud owner of the off-road-ready Adventure truck. 

Needless to say, Conner headed back to Clear Detailing to give Coleton an opportunity to closely inspect the R1T, with a primary focus on its paint job. The two had a goal to determine not only how the Rivian's paint job compares to a Tesla's, but also to a Honda Civic. The video is quite long, though Out of Spec Reviews did provide the following topics and timestamps, which we found quite helpful:

  • 0:00 - Hello & Welcome
  • 1:32 - Pulling The Rivian In The Shop
  • 3:44 - First Look At Paint
  • 8:13 - Model S Protection Plan
  • 11:49 - Wash
  • 21:28 - Looking For Defects
  • 32:09 - Paint Gauge
  • 38:49 - Lights Off - More Defects
  • 41:56 - Honda Civic Evaluation / Comparison
  • 51:20 - Final Thoughts

While we're not here to provide you with a comprehensive written summary of the entire video, we will share a few key details. However, keep in mind that the R1T has already been put through the paces. When Conner pulls it in, it's dirty and full of bugs, and he admits he's already put about 2,000 miles on it, and Kyle isn't easy on his vehicles.

At any rate, the guys point out one specific area on the R1T that's highly prone to paint damage, and some areas simply aren't wrapped very well, such as the edges of various panels. They go on to expose some factory defects and measure the paint's thickness, but overall, the Rivian's build quality and paint don't show any major cause for concern.

In the end, Coleton isn't really willing to rank the Honda Civic against the Rivian and Tesla to provide a clear idea of which has the best paint and the fewest defects. However, he's thoroughly impressed with the Honda, especially considering its price and the fact that it's not a luxury vehicle. He says basically all cars are getting so much better in the quality department, and people are paying way too much attention to the minute imperfections.

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