Tesla's brash Cybertruck: A blend of Wild West and space tech

It took a little longer to hit the showrooms but Tesla's brash and innovative Cybertruck has now been on sale for some weeks. High time to put one through its paces.

Not much has changed since the concept car dazzled the car world five years ago, apart from the increased base price of US$60,990 (RM291,000).

The entry level model will not be available until next year at the earliest and so prices start at US$79,990 (around RM380,000) for the standard issue. It is only available in the US for the time being.

Experts are still arguing about whether the shiny platform truck will even make it to Europe and beyond, given its unusual construction and unusual stainless steel bodywork.

Tesla has not yet said anything about exports, but since the Cybertruck is one of the hottest cars to hit the market for years it is worth a closer look.

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READ MORE: Tesla Cybertruck previewed in Malaysia

Love it or loathe it, the Cybertruck does stand out from the crowd. In the visual department, Tesla has broken with all the traditions in this segment.

The radical design is fascinating to look at and when a Tesla hums onto view, pedestrians stop and stare before grabbing their phones to take a picture.

At 5.7 metres, the truck is short by US pick-up standards and unlike a Dodge Ram or Ford F150 it has no "face" or front grille, Just a blank expanse of polished stainless steel. The headlights also vanish into a narrow LED strip.

The classic pick-up truck silhouette is instantly recognisable but the Cybertruck's profile is like a huge flat triangle on wheels.


The shape is not just provocative but practical too since, as so often with Tesla, is is down to rationalising the production process. To save money and time on the paintwork, the car is made of stainless steel.

This is supposedly not only shockproof, but even bulletproof and matches the advertised armoured glass for the windows. The material is also difficult to bend, which is why the Cybertruck has more corners and sharper edges than other pick-ups.

Incidentally, the long defunct stainless steel-clad De Lorean of "Back to the Future" movie fame had chunky looks for the same reason.

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Inside, the Cybertruck is as spartan as a monastery cell and cannot be compared to run-of-the-mill pick-ups. There is no cosy layout with thick, sofa-like seats and lots of cubbyholes. Indeed there are few places to store anything. A large screen in the centre serves as a central display and control element.

Comparing the Cybertruck to one of the top-selling pick-ups from Ford is pointless since they are aimed at different markets. The Cybertruck is not a simple load-carrier but an automotive statement.

The size of the loading area and the payload and towing capacity are perhaps on a par with its rivals but these evergreen models have matured over the decades into practical tools with all kinds of clever details.


Tesla doesn't have much to offer apart from the roller blind over the flatbed and the frunk - the storage space under the bonnet.

Performance is impressive and the Cybertruck is closer to a Porsche than a flatbed truck when mashing the tarmac. The range-topping Cyberbeast has a mind-boggling 621 kW/845hp on tap and bounds from 0 to 100kph in 2.6 seconds.

The standard edition has 441kW/600hp of propulsion which is enough to shift this mighty mass of metal from a standstill to 100kph in 4.3 seconds.

The energy for all this urge comes from a battery which Tesla does not specify in detail. It must have at least 100kWh or else the more than 500 certified kilometres of range would hardly be possible before recharging with up to 250kW.

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Tesla is selling the Cybertruck with a range extender which consists of an extra battery rather than the auxiliary petrol-engine type seen on the old BMW i3 or the current Mazda MX-30.

High-riding pick-ups are designed to make light work of rutted roads and tracks and in theory the Cybertruck can kick dirt too, provided its owners are not afraid to mess up the gleaming bodywork.

After all, why else bother to fit air suspension, which lifts the ground clearance to 40cm at the touch of a button?

Four-wheel drive is of course also available for the vast majority of models. However, numerous Internet videos suggest that the Cybertruck does not cope with mud and snow as well as Tesla would have us believe.


On the road, the Cybertruck's suspension takes some getting used to. It is so hard that it feels like a Wild West covered wagon.

Thanks to the near rectangular steering wheel, unfeeling drive-by-wire steering with no mechanical connection to the wheels and strong rear-axle steering, it takes a lot of practice to get the hang of although it takes the turns cleanly.

Of course, drivers must be prepared to make a few compromises if they want to fascinate onlookers and be the centre of attention almost anywhere they go.

So has Elon Musk gone a bit too far with this one?


Tesla has been praised by many reviewers and idolised by customers, but this time he is facing a lot of criticism, and not just because some buyers have complained about ugly rust stains on the bodywork.

Many die-hard Tesla fans find the truck looks too extreme, but what bothers some is the biggest reason for others to buy one. It may not be an honest daily worker like its rivals, but the Cybertruck steals the show from any Ferrari. — THOMAS GEIGER


Tesla Cybertruck AWD

Motor and drive: Twin electric motors
Maximum power: 441kW/600hp
Maximum torque: 10,080Nm
Drive: All-wheel-drive
Transmission: Single-speed automatic

Dimensions and weight
Length: 5683 mm
Width: 2201 mm
Height: 1791 mm
Kerb weight : 2,995kg
Luggage capacity: Up to 3,424 litres

Top speed: 180kph
Acceleration (0-100kph): 4.3s
Power output AC/DC: 22/250kW

Safety: Six airbags, ESP, Lane and distance control
Comfort: Aircon, digital displays, navigation, rear-view camera, electric load cover

Price: US$79,990
Autos Tesla