Skip to main content

Tesla Cybertruck First Drive Review: Overwhelming All the Senses

Driving the most anticpated vehicle of the year

2024 Tesla Cybertruck
  • The most anticipated vehicle of the year delivers a wild experience from behind the wheel, including limitless attention from strangers.
  • We took the Cybertruck on the Edmunds EV Range Test where it completed 334 miles of driving.
  • There's a lot to like about the Cybertruck, but we'll have to find out more about its durability and effectiveness as a proper pickup.

To call the Cybertruck controversial would be a wee bit of an understatement. When it was announced way back in November of 2019, Tesla's futuristic electric pickup truck caused a global sensation. Combining seriously wild styling, claims of impressive capability, fantastic range and some frankly stupendous features (we're looking at you, bullet-resistant bodywork), the Cybertruck seemed almost too good to be true. But now it's finally here, and we’ve taken our first spin behind the very oddly shaped wheel.

Our team has much more to experience with the Cybertruck, but this initial taste makes one thing clear: This is the strangest truck to ever hit the market. It will appeal to some, repel others, and bewilder just about everyone in between.

2024 Cybertruck profile

Photo by Ryan Greger

Choose your fighter

The entry-level Cybertruck is the rear-wheel-drive model. As of right now, specs on the Tesla consumer site are quite light. What the automaker does reveal is that it's expected to have a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and a range of just 250 miles. Given the much longer range estimates of other Cybertruck models, it's safe to assume this variant will also come with a smaller battery pack compared to the all-wheel-drive versions. It also has a max towing capacity of 7,500 pounds (less than the current Chevrolet Colorado). The price for the base model? A total of $61,240 once you add the mandatory $250 order fee to the total price. There will also be a destination fee tacked onto all Cybertruck orders, but Tesla isn't saying how much that is right now. It is, however, saying that the rear-drive model won't be available until 2025.

In the middle of the three-trim Cybertruck lineup is the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model. It produces around 600 horsepower and is able to sprint to 60 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds. Range is estimated to be 340 miles. Tesla also has an option for a "Range Extender," which is a toolbox-sized battery that fits up against the back of the truck bed, and it supposedly extends the all-wheel-drive Cybertruck's range to 470-plus miles. This trim also gets the Cybertruck's max towing figure of 11,000 pounds. This truck starts at $80,240, again, before the as-yet-unknown destination charge is applied.

2024 Cybertruck detail

Photo by Ryan Greger

The top-of-the-line model is quite aptly named the Cyberbeast. It's a triple-motor Cybertruck with a combined 845 horsepower. Per Tesla, the Cyberbeast will be able to hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and run on to a top speed of 130 mph. It will have a range of up to 320 miles, but again thanks to that range extender, can go up to 440-plus miles. It, too, can tow up to 11,000 pounds. The price for the top-spec Cybertruck is $100,240 (again, before destination).

A drive to remember

My first experience came in a Foundation Series Cybertruck. It shares the same specs as the all-wheel-drive model with two motors and 600 horsepower. Driving a Tesla Cybertruck is a novel experience and unlike anything else on the road — at least for now while they are so limited in number. I’m lucky enough to test a consistent stream of awesome cars, but nothing has ever garnered this much attention during a test. Those who don’t like to be the center of attention shouldn’t go anywhere near this shiny metallic object.

Once you get over the star power that this truck possesses, the next thing to strike you is the Cybertruck’s unique steer-by-wire system. All four wheels can turn left or right, so the truck is much quicker to maneuver than something its size should be. The learning curve is hard at first; it took a solid two hours of consistent driving before the steering felt anything shy of alien. Even after I got used to it, things never felt quite right. Small inputs with the wheel made the truck dramatically twitch left and right, way more than I wanted to happen. The upshot is a short turning circle with minimal input, but I don’t think the trade-off is worth it. Hopefully, Tesla will consider revising the steering assist with a future over-the-air software update to make it feel more natural.

Cybertruck rear three-quarter

Photo by Ryan Greger

Apart from the goofy steering, driving a Cybertruck is remarkably similar to other Teslas — just bigger. And blinder. You can’t see a darn thing out of the back, especially when the cargo bed cover is deployed. A camera feed constantly runs on the center screen, but I still checked the rearview mirror out of habit every few minutes. Everything else will be familiar to anyone who’s ever driven a Tesla. The one-pedal driving is smooth, the power is consistent and strong, and the ride quality is supple for such a monster.

Because this truck came from a private party we were not able to do our usual full battery of testing. However, we did run our Edmunds EV Range Test. The Cybertruck managed 334 miles, beating Tesla’s 318-mile estimate. We’re eager to gather full numbers on the truck and will hopefully have the chance to do so soon.

Cybertruck dashboard

Photo by Ryan Greger

Walk around the machine

It took about five minutes of seat time to realize that this was the best-assembled Tesla I’ve ever been in. It feels well built with a sturdiness that past models were desperately needing. The design is still minimal, with the signature large center screen controlling every major function. A thin line of ambient lighting adds a bit more fanfare, just like you’d find in the updated Model 3. The Cybertruck lacks the elegance of the Rivian R1T, but it offers the best-executed version of Tesla’s interior to date.

As expected, the tech is some of the best in the industry. Compared to other infotainment systems, the Cybertruck is in a different league, with beautiful graphics and lightning-quick response times. Even the sound system is exceptional. I would gladly take physical buttons over screen menus to control things, but we’ve been singing that song to Elon for years now with no change in sight. This is a great time to mention that the turn signals on the steering wheel and the gear selector on the screen are both needless additions. A traditional stalk to do both would be much better.

The space inside the Cybertruck is somewhere between a Rivian R1T and an F-150 Lightning. Legroom in the second row is generous, even for taller folks, but the sloping roof will cause some headroom issues for taller adults. Front-row passengers should have no issue getting comfortable either. Everyone can control their own air conditioning and seat climate thanks to the additional display in the second row.

Cybertruck front interior

Photo by Ryan Greger

As for the exterior, I will leave the design judgment up to you. Everyone has an opinion on how the Cybertruck looks, and it would be a futile exercise to try to change anyone's mind. My test truck didn’t have any egregious panel gaps that were once a hallmark feature of most Teslas. That said, small areas around the truck had fitment issues with two pieces of metal running into each other. The truck was covered in fingerprints and small stains, which were removable with a microfiber and some water. There were no signs of rust, but for a truck with less than 1,000 miles on the clock that should be the case. Truthfully, we will have to spend much more time with this machine to determine whether or not its stainless steel skeleton will hold up.

Edmunds says

Our brief time with the Tesla Cybertruck was mostly positive. It feels like more of a fun toy than it does a practical pickup, but that should be fine for some buyers. There is still a lot more to learn; however, the Cybertruck has the potential to be a success for Tesla. If you enjoy Tesla's vehicles and don't mind the attention that comes with it, then the Cybertruck is the right buy for you.