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Tesla's Cybertruck puts safety last
Lauren Fix

Tesla's Cybertruck puts safety last

Looks could kill when it comes to Elon's angular, sharp-cornered design.

I’ll say one thing about the Tesla Cybertruck: It’s built to survive even the most rugged grocery store parking lot.

When I saw it up close and in person at the Chicago Auto Show last week, the first thing I did was give it a good, swift kick.

Now, I may only be a blue belt in karate, but I promise you my foot landed with the force of at least three runaway shopping carts.

Not a dent.

They call it “vegan leather,” which is a funny way of saying “made from petroleum instead of cows.” You know, what we used to call “pleather.”

A passerby saw me and couldn’t resist joining in the fun, steel-toed boots and all. They might as well have been big fuzzy slippers.

We had permission, by the way. If you follow me, you know how I feel about the Tesla product. But as a journalist I believe the pen is mightier than the foot. This was strictly professional.

And the stainless steel exterior seems to be as impervious as they say, along with the famously bulletproof windows.

Deadly design?

Far more impervious than, say, human flesh. Stainless steel is hard. And the Cybertruck’s severely angular front includes some sharp corners that could be deadly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Frankly I’m shocked that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved this design. I don’t know what kind of clout Elon has with the NHTSA, but I can’t imagine Ford or GM getting away with this.

And it's not necessarily safe for people inside the vehicle. There have been serious concerns about the Cybertruck's lack of proper crumple zones.

That’s not to say I don’t give him credit for having his vision. It’s got strong arches, big wheels, big, aggressive Goodyear tires.

I love the LED light across the front; very futuristic. The wiper blade is truly gargantuan. Replacing it, which you’re supposed to do once a year, is not going to be cheap. But it does look cool. I credit for cool.

Bringing the frunk

Elon Musk is good at making cool stuff. And he’s good at selling that stuff, even though it might not be as good as what else is available.

Take the Cybertruck’s front trunk, or “frunk.” Storage in front is fairly unique, and it has “Cybertruck” written on the inside in this intense gamer type of font. But if you want a frunk, you can always buy a Ford F-150 Lightning. People rave about that frunk, and the Lightning also costs considerably less than a Cybertruck.

The interior’s interesting. I like the LED lighting. It has an excellent Nvidia touchscreen. The steer-by-wire is really unique, as is the steering yoke. But it all feels kind of plasticky, because it is. Well, they call it “vegan leather,” but that’s just a funny way of saying “made from petroleum instead of cows.” You know, what we used to call “pleather.”

You can fit three child seats in the back, which is impressive. For adults, it’s kind of cramped. Storage is nothing special. All in all, it’s rather basic, especially for a vehicle at this price.

At that’s the thing. A lot of Tesla fans are going to love the Cybertruck. But I’m looking at this from the perspective of the average consumer who wants a daily driver. And if this is your only vehicle, you might be in trouble. A Cybertruck in the Buffalo area, where I live, got stuck in the snow, because it’s a very heavy vehicle. They needed an F-150 to pull it out.

Three-ton toy

Of course, it attracts attention in other ways as well. It looks kind of like a toy. And in some ways, it is. This is the kind of car you buy to show off to your friends

But if you just want an electric car and don’t care about bragging rights, you’re going to get much better range with a Lucid.

Shorter range, like a less roomy interior, is a compromise some consumers may be willing to make for Tesla’s latest sensation. But safety shouldn’t be an optional feature – especially for all of the people who’ll be sharing the road with these vehicles whether they like it or not. That’s one compromise that shouldn’t get lost in all the hype.

Check out my full review in the video below:

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