Home » I Had A Tesla Cybertruck For The Weekend. Here’s Why I Ended Up Driving My BMW i3 Instead

I Had A Tesla Cybertruck For The Weekend. Here’s Why I Ended Up Driving My BMW i3 Instead

Bmw I3 Wins Cybetruck Comfort Ts2
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If you have the keys to a Tesla Cybertruck for a weekend, you should drive the Tesla Cybertruck. No matter your thoughts on its styling or its general “vibe,” it is an awesome machine to experience. Why, then, did I decide on Saturday to drive the Cybertruck back to work, where my 2014 BMW i3 stood, so I could drive the little Bavarian all weekend? It comes down to a term I’m coining today — “Subconscious Comfort.” It’s an idea that could be obvious to many of you (and perhaps we have a word for it already), but even if so, just know that it’s what led me to give up the Cybertruck keys. Here, allow me to explain.

Back when I lived in Michigan, I accrued a lot of cars (14 at one point). I had half an acre at my disposal, rent was cheap, cars were cheap, and every car I bought became content that helped further my career. More importantly, my love for unique automobiles was strong and everlasting, and I enjoyed working on vehicles.

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One question I frequently got from people during those days was: “How do you decide which car to drive?” The answer to that was complicated. Sometimes, the car I chose to drive was a conscious choice. “Man, I want to row that three-speed-on-the-column,” I’d think, and then I’d hop into my 1965 Plymouth Valiant. “That ZJ’s five-speed shifts like a dream, and that four-liter is torquey and smooth,” I’d think. “Plus, the ZJ is just such a historically significant car to me, with it having been my first car.” So I hop into the ZJ. If I’m feeling like having a bunch of fun, I’d fold down my 1948 Willys’ windshield and cruise. Maybe I felt like driving a classic truck? Then I’d jump into my 1985 Jeep J10.

 

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But oftentimes, the choice of vehicle was subconscious. I know this because I once owned a Lexus LX470 — basically a fancy 100-series Toyota Land Cruiser. I did not like that machine; it was thirsty, oversized, only so-so off-road, slow, and I could go on and on. On paper, it was not great. And yet, when it came time to do a basic errand, my hand would naturally reach for the Lexus keys over every other key. There was no thought that went into it: It was almost like a physiological choice that my body made for me.

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Why was it that, any time I headed to the dentist or grocery store or fast food spot, I was always behind the wheel of that Lexus? It’s because it was supremely comfortable. It was so much quieter than any other car I owned, the seats were more comfortable, the ride was better, and at the same time, it had 260,000 miles on the clock and I wasn’t worried about it getting rusty or dinged up. To me, it was the easiest, cushiest car to drive.

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It’s that same concept that led me to drive my i3 this weekend over the Cybertruck (which I’d already driven for a few days at that point — I’m grateful for the experience). The i3 just offered more of this “subconscious comfort.” And I should reiterate, I’m not saying that the i3 is more “comfortable” in a traditional sense; no, most reviewers would call the Cybertruck much more comfortable than an i3. Subconscious comfort isn’t about just ride quality, interior materials, or NVH mitigation — there are loads of factors that go into it. Here’s a list off the top of my head:

  • Visibility
  • Size (for ease of parking, especially in cities)
  • Interior tech/apps
  • Value (i.e. how worried you are about it being damaged)
  • Reliability
  • Ride comfort and handling
  • Interior quietness (NVH)
  • Fuel efficiency
  • All-weather performance
  • Refueling/recharging infrastructure

The reasons why I hung up the keys to the Cybertruck involved the truck’s size, its visibility, and its value. The thing is just too big to easily slither through tight city streets, and its visibility — despite its nice cameras — makes parking tricky. I actually hit a car, though it was slight (I’ll write about that a bit later). What’s more, the truck is just too valuable right now, and with its polarizing styling, it’s hard to feel anxious leaving it sitting anywhere for long.

I didn’t want to deal with all that, so I took the Cybertruck back to work, and grabbed my i3.

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As soon as I was in the i3, I felt so much more at ease. Obviously, some of that has to do with the fact that I was used to it, but its size, visibility, and lack of flashiness/value were key to making it the right car for my weekend.

I’ll soon have a newer BMW i3 in my fleet, and that thing will have Apple Carplay, making it likely the most “subconsciously comfortable” car in my fleet. And that includes my girlfriend’s Lexus RX350, a vehicle that rides much better than my i3, and whose interior is, while perhaps not as pretty, certainly more cushy.

Screenshot 2024 05 13 At 1.12.41 pm

And yet, when my girlfriend or I reach for a key to do a basic errand, we always choose the i3. It’s smaller, easier to maneuver, and it’s electric. Firing up a gas engine, and knowing you’re burning fuel that you’ll have to replenish at a gas station instead of just plugging in, just makes hopping into the Lexus for a basic errand feel more mentally straining. Perhaps less “easy.” Maybe the term should be “subconscious ease”? I’m not sure, but I can tell you that what I’m describing isn’t just about ride and NVH — it’s a complex thing involving lots of factors.

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If I lived in, say, a snowy place, then certainly the all-wheel drive Lexus on Michelin Crossclimate 2’s would be the car whose keys I’d naturally grab. If I had to go on a long road-trip, I’d probably snag the Lexus’ keys, since the BMW i3’s range extender is a bit loud and just makes me feel uncomfortable due to its lack of reliability.

Yes, reliability plays into Subconscious Comfort. Legendary Autopian writer The Bishop knows what I’m talking about. Here are a few paragraphs from him about his similar experience with a Lexus (shown below):

Let’s say you have just two cars. One is primarily driven by a person that will call you screaming and crying when it breaks down because it’s YOUR FAULT, and your two kids are sitting in the thing as semis whiz by within inches. If faced with that situation, you choose a vehicle with your head and not your heart. I despise almost everything about our 2009 Lexus LX570, but I’ve never gotten a call from the side of the road.

What I hate even more about it is that on weekends, when I need to take a quick trip to the store or the bank, I’m halfway down the street when I realized that I’m not in my German daily driver but instead the hated SUV. I subconsciously took the keys and drove away? Why is that? My guess is that somehow sitting high up in silence with air conditioning that cools the car in seconds overrules road manners all day long in suburbia. Hell, the Lexus doesn’t have any “road manners” at all, nor does it feature “fuel economy”. Muscle memory likely comes into play, just like how you grab those ugly shoes in the closet instead of the slick looking ones that kill your heels. Your body chooses the path of least resistance- at least at my age.

Screen Shot 2024 05 13 At 11.20.53 Am
Image: The Bishop

That’s really well put! Choosing which car to drive often is a subconscious choice that your body makes to follow “the path of least resistance,” factoring in so many different things. I’m not sure there’s a term yet for this “thing” that certain cars have over others so I’m just going to call it “subconscious comfort.” My BMW i3, an electric luxury subcompact hatchback with loads of visibility and reliability along with a rather low flashiness/value on the marketplace, has this in spades. At least, in fair-weathered California, where my girlfriend and I reach for its keys every time we have to do a basic errand.

Anyway, I realize that choosing a smaller, nimbler, less valuable, less flashy subcompact over a big truck in a city sounds fairly obvious, but this article was just a way for me to discuss this concept of “subconscious comfort,” because it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Because it’s not the same as just “ride comfort” or “interior” comfort. It’s a combination of factors, many obvious, some not so much.

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AJ
AJ
2 months ago

I agree that the CT seems absurd to drive, particularly in a city. That said, did your feeling that it was subconsciously uncomfortable arise before-or-after you hit another car with it? 🙂

AJ
AJ
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Yikes, that sucks. So close to having finally out of your hair and off your plate.

This definitely affirms your earlier feeling that it just wasn’t comfortable to drive! “Trust your instincts,” as it were (did this happen on May 4th? 🙂 ).

Last edited 2 months ago by AJ
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago

“i.e. how worried you are about it being damaged”

So you’d rather risk the fragile, nearly irreparable carbon fiber of the i3 rather than the macho, tough guy, get oudda my way…or ELSE! stainless steel cybertruck.

Interesting…

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

You sure you wouldn’t prefer a Prius?

Detroit Lightning
Detroit Lightning
2 months ago

Just imagining how mad I’d be if I got hit by a cybertruck. (So mad!)

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
2 months ago

So mad that you would turn into a Cyber Bully? 😉

Last edited 2 months ago by Shooting Brake
Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
2 months ago

I’d be so embarrassed to be seen in a cybertruck so it would be an easy choice for me.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
2 months ago

There’s no way I could ever drive the CyBeRjUnK truck, and if forced I would promptly drive it over a cliff while jumping out at the last second.
It’s horrifying ugly and makes me want to throw up. Also, if someone asked me to ride in one, I would tell them I’d rather walk or take the risk of hitchhiking w/ psychos so I could get as far away from it as possible.
If this is the future, I’d rather live in the past

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
2 months ago

This goes back to the earlier article, and ultimately why consumption based on potential has serious pitfalls. Unless you buy a car for potentially getting from A to B as reliably as possible, potential means some sort of inherently flawed vehicle. Be it towards towing, going fast, going over very rough roads, being as low as possible. Whatever your jam, it’s flawed for most of our actual needs. We as consumers don’t really ask ourselves “Am I willing to live with the trade-off?”. Because the answer is often that we’re not when given a practical option. However, we’re conditioned to act against our own self interest for the interest of profit.

Space
Space
2 months ago

I like that idea, I am going to use that to justify to my wife that need to up our fleet to 6 vehicles.
But honey we need a vehicle that has no potential other uses or else it’s flawed!
Here is what my ideal fleet would be.
1) efficient commuter
2) dedicated offroader
3) family road trip vehicle
4)truck for truck stuff
5) motorcycle
6) a bus for moving people

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
2 months ago
Reply to  Space

It did work for me to up my fleet by 1 Honda Fit. So, there’s precedent. Just drive your drift missile around for a bit and your spouse will be more then happy to see you in something else.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 months ago

“How do you decide which car to drive?” The answer to that was complicated…

Really? I thought it was simply the one most likely to successfully complete the round trip without becoming too much of an ordeal…

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Much like a friend of mine with a few cars. Which one is running, take it. Tinker as time allows. I don’t think all of them worked at the same time.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

I mean, doesn’t having a fleet of fully functional cars kind of defeats the purpose of having a fleet of cars?

Last edited 2 months ago by Jason Smith
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

This isn’t something I track closely but, looking back, I’m pretty sure the last time all of my cars worked at the same time was mid-1988.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

As I said before, doesn’t having a fleet of fully functional cars kind of defeats the purpose of having a fleet of cars?
All joking aside, even cars in Jay Leno’s collection need some TLC before he can take them out.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

With David’s fleet, deciding that question was NP-hard.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
2 months ago

I do this too. Combination of where I have to go that day, do I have to get one or both kids, how much traffic will I encounter. The commuter wins out more often than the sports car unfortunately. In a year or so when the younger child moves up to booster size the math will hopefully swing back to fun car more often.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago

Forget the slightly-better new i3 – boring! Buy this ‘take over my payments’ deal i8 instead!

https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicle/711449238

I think we could make a game out of this ad, kind of like one of those ‘spot the differences’ puzzles, but in this case it is ‘can you spot all the red flags?’ XD

C’mon David, buy it for The Content! “I bought the nation’s sketchiest i8 sight unseen, with a bad thermostat and turbocharger – will it run and drive back to LA?”

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

That is incredibly tempting. If only these had a longer EV range and I could get him down $25 to get the federal credit and I would be all over it.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

DONT GIVE HIM BAD IDEAS! We already seen what happens with sketchy deals like that, and dammit, he wants to keep his gal!

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago

A long way around to tell us “I’m not gonna be seen driving this abomination.”

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
2 months ago

does that truck have patina or is it just dirty?

It looks like my grandmother’s old silver before they take it out and polish it for the holidays.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
2 months ago

Totally get this. Its part of why I ultimately got rid of my XJ Cherokee- wasn’t reaching for the keys nearly as often as I felt I should if I was going to keep it. The newer daily in the driveway never surprised me with a new issue while driving.

Paul B
Paul B
2 months ago

Our fleet is a Sierra 1500 and a Volt. The choice for an errand is whichever one has the driver’s seat is still setup for me.

Goof
Goof
2 months ago

And yet, when my girlfriend or I reach for a key to do a basic errand, we always choose the i3. It’s smaller, easier to maneuver…

I miss my Miata for this reason. I walk or take subway for 99+% of trips, but for the times where I need a car, I always prefer smol.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago

I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve sometimes chosen which vehicle to drive based on how far I need to walk from my garage door to get to them.

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
2 months ago

Well-articulated! I often take the Mazda5 in our fleet for similar reasons.

Wally_World_JB
Wally_World_JB
2 months ago

Kudos to your for having g a Mazda5 – love those!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago

I take mine because its fun to drive and I never know when I’ll find a roadside treasure.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

I finally saw a CT IRL yesterday. I could not escape the feeling that it looked like something someone built in their garage for their kid for Halloween or a parade float made of plywood. I’m guessing the flat black wrap which screamed rattle can didn’t help much.

All due respect to Tesla investor Sandy Munroe, but this is not a serious vehicle.

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I walk by a Tesla showroom on the way to the gym. The CT they have on display behind the velvet ropes is painted or wrapped white, presumably to hide all the imperfections in the panels.

I saw a CT on the road today that was painted black, and you could see all waves and ripples in the panels. Even Deloreans had better panel stamping/fitment.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

Indeed! Those panel waves are just terrible. Delorean had the good sense to curve or crease the panels so the car looked like it had value. The waves on the CT panels really truly give the impression of an amateur project. It’s hard to describe just how jarring those waves are on something that you know costs so much. It’s a real schizophrenic disconnect.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I take it you don’t know how flat the Delorean really is. Most of the panels have no curve or creases at all, and the hood is perfectly flat and square.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

And yet they don’t look wavy. IIRC the hood was the only flat panel and it was braced and they added lines or something to it later in life. The rest of the panels all had curves and/or creases. But point taken.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

IMHO, the CT is a tech flex for Tesla to try new things. I predict it’s sales will drop like the Gladiators did. The CT is a proving ground for the 48V low voltage architecture, steer by wire, finger removing frunk (Yakuza special) and probably a few other things that will live on in future or redesigned Tesla vehicles.

While I respect Sandy Munroe, he has lost his ability to be objective on Tesla.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
2 months ago

Hadn’t thought too much about this, but a lot of stuff does go through my mind when choosing between my daily 1993 Miata, my 1980 Spitfire or my 1968 Olds 4-4-2.

Do I need A/C today?
Is it going to rain on me?
Do I want people to look at my car and say loud things at me?
Do I want 12 MPGs or 26?
Do I want 75HP or 400?
Do I want to shift gears or… um… shift gears. Ok. Lemme rewrite that:
Do I want to sublime-Miata-shift gears or vaguely-Triumph-shift gears or Rock-Crush Muncie-shift gears?
Which garage is blocked by the Odyssey? Do I care enough to move the Odyssey?
Is something about to break on any of these cars?
What do I want to smell like today?
Do I have to pick a kid up? Do they fit in the trunk?
Does my band have a gig in which case NONE of these cars work and I need to steal my wife’s Odyssey?
Do I want to get the side-eye from a cop?
Do I want to get the side-eye from a bro?
Do I want to get the side-eye from someone who hates the British?
Do I want to get the side-eye from an environmentalist?
Do I want to get the side-eye from an Olds enthusiast that knows my car is a clone?
Do I need to wake any kids up with engine noise from the garage?
Do I want to listen to the radio? Do I want to be able to hear said radio?
Oh shoot, do I need to be at the airport? Do I want to leave this car in an airport garage three days?
Do I want people to go “Awww!” or “AW YEAH!”?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

I feel this so hard. I got asked multiple times at a car show this weekend if I drive my GT6 much? “Not as much as I should” I responded, and many of those questions above apply.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

And that’s why you drive the Odyssey every single time.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago

Each of my cars strokes a different pleasure center. Surprisingly, the 1st gen Tundra drives like a big Camry so it is always the easy choice. The NA Miata just feels and sounds great, especially with the top down, but it does make you work. The Corvair drives really well but it changes your cadence and makes you adjust to more cruiser style of 60s automobiles. The BMW 2002 is probably my favorite. It is comfortable but not cushy, roomy, handles great, has A/C and a sunroof, and a slick 5 speed.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chronometric
Ben
Ben
2 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Ditto. I have a 1/2 ton, a Prius, a Corvette, and a 125cc scooter. I love all of them and they could not be more different.

Redfoxiii
Redfoxiii
2 months ago

I’ll soon have a newer BMW i3 in my fleet…

Hey, cool! Glad you sprung for the upgrade

Tim Connors
Tim Connors
2 months ago
Reply to  Redfoxiii

It feels like DT is in the early stages of replacing an extensive collection of semi-running jeeps with an extensive collection of oddball EVs.

Dalton
Dalton
2 months ago

I solved this issue by just having one car, and it is NOT a practical one.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dalton
Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
2 months ago

What are you going to do with your first i3 now that a second has entered the picture? Unless your significant other is taking the new one to replace the Lexus having two seems pointless

Last edited 2 months ago by Automotiveflux
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
2 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

This is David. The man had like 12 Jeep Cherokees at one point and would adamantly declare that they were all very different. Having 2 i3s is totally on brand. Oh I totally agree with you though.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

And yet it’s exactly that craziness that keeps us all coming back for more. We’re just glad Hollywood David is far less likely to die of tetanus!

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Let me guess, the i3S is a “unicorn” because of some obscure option combination. David, you were starting to flirt with “rare” Corvette owner territory there for a while…

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

BRAVO!

Don’t ever change!

Ben
Ben
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

I guess since you’re no longer in the rust belt they aren’t Holy anymore? 😉

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
2 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Ya you need to work on that impulse control… but who am I to judge. I’m getting ready to put more lights on my semi that already has 60 on it. Hell, you know what, if it makes you happy and doesn’t piss off the lady, it’s fine. At least this new vehicle runs, has no huge rust holes, won’t break down all the time, and isn’t going to kill you in a 5 mph collision. So you are improving, I guess?

John Gustin
John Gustin
2 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

Don’t worry, he’s going to perform a fusion dance to create the fabled i6.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
2 months ago
Reply to  John Gustin

i6 swapped i3 sounds pretty good

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
2 months ago

I still just can’t get over how supremely stupid the Cybertruck looks.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
2 months ago
Reply to  Stryker_T

And how something so massive actually looks small. How they manage that?

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
2 months ago

 “Subconscious Comfort.” It’s an idea that could be obvious to many of you (and perhas we have a word for it already)

I bet the Germans do.

Jb996
Jb996
2 months ago

Unterbewussterkomfort

I don’t speak German well enough to know that’s right, but I bet it’s close.

Or maybe:
komfortableautoentscheidungdienicht bewusstist

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
2 months ago

I was already excited to hear about your thoughts with the cybertruck, but now hearing you hit something with it too I am even more so!

Full disclosure, I typed haha at the end of the above, and then felt the need to delete it because of the tales of the slack in which you called out Mercedes for doing that…

Ben
Ben
2 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Since no one else has, I’ll do it: Haha!

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