The SEAT Leon X-Perience Titan Desert took on the, well, desert. Given the name, it seems appropriate. To be exact, it took on part of the Sahara Desert.The route covered the Errachidia area of Morocco, including the Erg Chebbi dunes.
The ergs are a collection of large seas of dunes. Whilst not as large as Morocco’s other Saharan erg, Erg Chigaga, Erg Chebbi’s dunes are significantly higher. It is 22 kilometres long and five kilometres wide with ridges that climb to over 150 metres. Reaching and traversing it meant facing rocky ground, dunes, dust and adverse weather.
Titan Desert Vs The Sahara
Being safely contained in a vehicle does not make anyone immune from the outside. The Scirocco is a south-eastern wind common to the Errachidia area. It can carry dust particles that measure one micron or one-thousandth of a millimetre. There is also the temperature of such a hostile environment. It can get to 50 degrees during the day and the temperature inside can reach up to 60 degrees. However, it is not just the high daytime temperatures that pose a risk; the Sahara can fall to below zero during the night.
The Titan Desert can manage all of that though. Before a model goes on sale, the SEAT prototypes undergo several tests to ensure the passenger compartment is water and airtight. The goal is to ensure that in real driving conditions not a micron of dust gets into the passenger compartment.
As you would hope, the Titan Desert is also equipped to masterfully handles an extreme environment like the Erg Chebbi. Unlike driving on a paved surface, one of the keys to driving on sand is to slightly decrease the pressure of the tyres so they have greater ground contact. To drive across a dune, you face it straight on and go up at a certain speed. The aim is to have complete control of the vehicle at all times, both going up and coming down the dunes.
Finally, should you fancy tackling the Sahara yourself, one of the greatest risks are sandstorms. They can appear suddenly and be upon you quicker than you think. But they are a common weather phenomenon in desert areas so you need to be prepared. Although they move quickly, reaching up to 75 kph, it is not advisable to attempt to cross through them. When a sandstorm kicks up, the best thing to do is to stop, face the car away from the direction of the wind and wait until it blows over.