Depending on who you ask, the Tesla Cybertruck is either yet another master stroke from Elon Musk, a bit underwhelming or a big ol' dud five years in the making. Anecdotally, the regular, non-car-obsessed people in my life tend to lean toward the latter camp.

That makes sense. They're city people. The only shiny, long-overdue electric transportation they're rooting for is the Second Avenue Subway

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The Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla's outlandish pickup truck finally went on sale late last year after years of delays. It arrives at a time when Tesla needs a fresh product to keep its sales growing. And it's not clear that the niche, expensive Cybertruck can deliver. 

But what really matters here is what people who bought the Cybertruck think. Tesla sunk a lot of time and money into developing this thing—resources that could've gone toward a more affordable Tesla with greater potential to boost its flagging sales. After years of explosive growth, America's EV leader is struggling with a demand problem, dragging the country's overall EV sales figures down. Tesla needs a win on the product front, and it's not clear that the Cybertruck is it. 

For more in-depth analysis of whether the Cybertruck is a win or a flop, we turn to reviews from owners themselves, like YouTube channel Snazzy Labs. Quinn Nelson, who runs the tech-review outfit, bought a Cybertruck a month ago and just posted a detailed video on his thoughts—good and bad. 

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The 23-minute video linked above is worth a watch if you want all the details. Otherwise, I'll dig into some of the pros and cons I found most enlightening. 

Cons: A "sloppy" interior and more

The first part of the video is dedicated to one major complaint: interior quality. According to Nelson, the Cybertruck isn't up to the same standard as Tesla's Model S, Model X, or its refreshed Model 3, all of which cost less than the roughly $100,000 pickup. 

"It feels so cheap," he said. "There's hard plastic everywhere." 

Tesla skipped out on some of what makes the Model S and Model X (the company's higher-end products) special, he said. There aren't auto-opening doors. There's no secondary screen behind the steering wheel, just a central one. That main touchscreen doesn't tilt electronically like it does in the Model S or Model X. The whole interior squeaks and creaks, he said. For years, buyers have criticized Tesla for so-so build quality and for going so minimalist that things start to feel cheap. 

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Plus, the Cybertruck isn't terribly well thought through, Nelson said. For example, the rear-view mirror is tiny and is rendered useless when the Cybertruck's tonneau cover is closed. That means you have to use the backup camera instead, which can get smudgy. There's also a space between the sun visors and the headliner that lets glare from the sun through.

“This is an insane design," he said of the sun visor. “Now look, are all of these things small on their own? Sure. But in aggregate, it just seems a little bit sloppy.”

Other things Nelson isn't a fan of include the truck's overall design and the stainless-steel body's tendency to stain. "It looks like hell all the time," he said. 

Pros: Steer-by-wire and other fun stuff

Without a doubt, steer-by-wire is one of the more revolutionary elements of the Cybertruck. And it's something Nelson was particularly taken with. 

There's no physical connection between the Cybertruck's steering wheel and its wheels, which allows for some unique capabilities. It means that the steering can behave differently depending on the Cybertruck's speed and driving environment. 

At low speed in a parking lot, for example, you can pop a U-turn with ease. Minimal input into the steering wheel makes the wheels turn a whole lot. On the highway, that same level of input would result in a more subtle output, resulting in something like a lane change. It's similar to existing variable-ratio steering racks in more traditional cars, but more extreme. You never have to steer hand-over-hand, because the Cybertruck's steering wheel doesn't rotate all that far. 

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The result is that the Cybertruck is way more nimble than you'd expect, Nelson says. Rear-wheel steering aids on that front as well. This is all stuff we've known and observed for ourselves. (InsideEVs Deputy Editor Mack Hogan wasn't thrilled with the way the Cybertruck's steer-by-wire setup performed, but granted that it is "genuinely revolutionary.")

What I hadn't realized—though it's obvious in retrospect—is that steer-by-wire also impacts the communication between the wheels and the steering wheel. Nelson explains that even when you drive over bumps or ruts in the road, the steering wheel doesn't jostle or try to turn suddenly. It just stays the course, which is a neat and unexpected consequence. For me at least. The weird part is that there are positions where the steering wheel won't spring back to center, Nelson said. That sounds hard to get used to. 

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Other perks, according to Nelson: The air suspension is supple, the cabin is dead-quiet in most circumstances and there are power outlets everywhere, including a 50-amp one in the bed. The screen for rear passengers can play TV shows through Bluetooth headphones and is great for kids, he said. The sound system is "exceptionally good." The side mirrors provide a nice, wide view and the hilariously big windshield wiper actually works.  

Overall, though, Nelson isn't sold on the Cybertruck. He says it's a good "truck for Tesla people" that will become more compelling as the price comes down. 

"It's a good car, one I would recommend, just maybe not one that my heart is fully in," he said.  

Contact the author: tim.levin@insideevs.com

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