I Drove The Tesla Cybertruck. Here’s What This EV Pickup Is All About

Not long after Cybertruck owners started taking delivery, I joined a group of people checking out a pair of these futuristic pickups near my workspace. The mood was casual and curious; one of the trucks was rented by YouTuber Kyle Conner and the other was owned by Ben Levin, one of the lucky first buyers.

Curious, I asked to climb inside one of the trucks and look around. Everyone was busy so I didn’t get a tour, and that was OK. The fun of figuring things out on a new car never gets old. But this truck is not like any other vehicle. There are no door handles. And that’s just the start of what’s different. Gravel Hauling Trucks

I Drove The Tesla Cybertruck. Here’s What This EV Pickup Is All About

To open the door, I tapped a tiny light on the door pillar and the door popped open. Soon after I hopped into look around, someone asked me to back the truck into a parking spot. So I did. (And that was the extent of my test drive; I plan to drive it again soon and will share my extended experience when I do).

The Cybertruck screen with gear selector in the upper left corner

But it took me a minute. The first challenge? Finding the gear selector. There are no buttons inside, either. No levers. No shifter. There’s not a driver display screen or any stalks on the steering wheel. Turn signals, the windshield wiper and bright lights are dials on the steering wheel.

The only place the gear selector could be is on the multimedia screen. Pressing the brake on the Tesla Cybertruck powers it on and an annotated image of the truck comes up on the screen. On the left side is a vertical line with a truck icon that is the ‘gear shifter.’ Drag the image of the truck up to the top of the screen for drive, down for reverse. Once I got it, it was simple.

Then, this thing is one huge blind spot; mirrors and the rear view camera are a necessity. Like other Teslas, the ceiling is tinted glass, as is the narrow rear window, which makes for a lot of glare and not a lot of visibility. The tonneau cover further obscures what you can see through the back window; with it closed you see only the interior of the truck bed.

The Cybertruck's steering yoke. Notice, too, the new logo on the steering wheel.

Even grabbing the steering wheel is novel. It’s a yoke, actually, flat on the top and bottom. And, the Cybertruck has steer-by-wire which is essentially electronic, computer-based steering. Steer-by-wire, which I tried out in the prototype Lexus RZ last year, is far more precise than typical power steering; sort of like the steering on a video game, you only need to make minimal movements even for wide turns.

In addition to steer-by-wire, the Cybertruck has rear wheel steering of up to 7 degrees of turning. That may not sound like a lot but it allows this long, tall, sharp-angled truck to elegantly spin into a parking spot or hug the curves on a road.

Once I put the truck in gear, found my mirrors and took stock of the rear view display, I started to back the truck. I’ll be honest: I’m a capable driver but backing up is not my favorite maneuver. And in a new vehicle with so many novel features? That belongs to someone else? In front of a crowd of people? Nerves were high but so was the need to get it right.

I moved slowly, looking back and forth between the rear view camera image on the screen and the triangle-shaped side view mirrors where I could see the rear wheels turning. I had to angle it between a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Rivian R1T for a comparison video being shot by Conner for Out of Spec Reviews, his YouTube channel. The pressure was on.

But the Cybertruck was impressive. Steer-by-wire is good, but the rear wheel turning is fantastic, and necessary. The size and shape of this truck will make it naturally hard to maneuver, a problem rear steering will help solve.

Within a few seconds, the Cybertruck was neatly and easily tucked between the two other trucks, its futuristic design and glowing front light bar standing out between two more conventional designs. It was much easier to angle it into the spot than I’d imagined it would be.

The Tesla Cybertruck's open interior and floating center console.

I took a few more minutes to take it all in. The Cybertruck is true to its mission and intent: A man-cave for a post-apocalyptic world that will shield you from falling debris and oncoming munitions as you flee danger. Or, drive to Target in a real-life version of such a thing.

The model I toured was outfitted with all weather floor mats, leatherette seating and a center console with cup holders (because even after an apocalypse, you need cupholders for your drinks). The footwells are wide — lots of space for large boots— and the glass roof makes the interior feel open. The rear seat is roomy and looked right home with backpacks and gear stowed there.

Which raises another question: where do you put your gear? The truck bed, which has a locking, retractable cover, is one place, though things will slide around as you drive.

Or the frunk. In the case of the Cybertruck, the frunk is quite sizable. After Kyle was done with his video and we were leaving, the two guys who were driving the Cybertruck popped the frunk to grab their suitcases. Two suitcases; the roll-aboard type that fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. This was pretty impressive.

Notice how big the windshield wiper on the Cybertruck is.

I was also taken by the front and rear light bars, the wheel cladding and the windshield wiper — yes, wiper; there’s only one — which is the size and shape of an oversized baseball bat. It’s a detail I hadn’t noticed in photos but that really stood out in person.

And the rear tonneau cover is push button and electric, retracting into the rear of the truck bed.

But probably most stunning detail is the sheer metal skin of the truck. The Cybertruck is clad in stainless steel that is .071” thick — though it seems thicker — and feels quite solid, much more than the sheet of stainless that covers your refrigerator or dishwasher.

However, it’s sharp, as Kyle and his team found as they put all the pickup trucks through a “pinch test.” The Cybertruck’s stainless panels have sharp, straight edges rather than the slightly rounded, painted edges that we’re used to on other cars and trucks. The Cybertruck’s doors and frunk lid also lack rubber gaskets that might soften the closure.

Kyle used a carrot and a package of hotdogs to see just how resistant the Cybertruck would be when coming in contact with something like a human finger. None of the components resisted at all. The frunk and doors easily crunched the carrot in half and smashed the hotdogs into mush. Note to parents with kids getting into or out of the truck, or anyone who handles any of the doors or moving parts on a Cybertruck: Watch your fingers.

The Cybertruck sits between a Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning

After spending the afternoon with the Cybertruck, I get it. There’s been a lot of hubbub around drivers taking it off-road, attempting to tow and getting stuck. But I’m not sure I’d take this too far off the pavement. It’s wide and it’s long and does not seem as agile as other four-wheelers, even with rear wheel steering.

And despite all that steel on the outside, it doesn’t come with skid plates to protect the undercarriage from rocks and mud. Even though the Cybertruck doesn’t have the analog parts that skid plates protect, such as an oil pan or driveshaft, it still seems a good thing to have on the trail.

I Drove The Tesla Cybertruck. Here’s What This EV Pickup Is All About

Giant Mining Equipment But for that video-game-in-real-life feeling? This is the fantasy come to life. And for those who want to live in that world, the Cybertruck will take you there.