I Took The Tesla Cybertruck Off-Roading. Here's What Surprised Me
When I first saw the Tesla Cybertruck way back in November 2019, I'll admit I immediately hated it. As a truck person, the design offended me. As an off-road enthusiast, the unibody construction insulted me. As a human being with a brain who has been working in the car business for a decade or so, the intended two-year delivery timetable just flat-out made me laugh.
Well, here we are in 2024, and Cybertrucks have made their way to a few select customers, albeit two years later than promised. And early reviews, tests and owner accounts have not exactly been mind-blowing. All of this was on my mind as I took one into the desert.
I got an unexpected quick off-road drive in the Cybertruck at the Optima Unplugged electrified drive event at this year's King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, CA. I've spent plenty of time in electric vehicles off-road, from campaigning a Volkswagen ID.4 in the Mexican 1000 in Baja California with factory driver Tanner Foust to being the first journalist to drive a Rivian R1T—and in the grueling off-road Rebelle Rally to boot. I've driven the Hummer EV in Arizona and California and spent time in the electric Jeep Magneto Concept in the red rocks of Moab, Utah. Further, I've raced in the Mint 400, the Baja 1000, and various local off-road races in all kinds of vehicles. All of this is to say that I know my way around what good off-road suspension feels like and what an EV can do in the desert.
And you know what? The Cybertruck wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. The good folks at Unplugged Performance had their truck out for testing and were kind enough to let me loose behind the wheel of their rig for 15 minutes or so. Not enough time for a thorough evaluation but enough to get the gist.