Desert Winds

Four-by-four driving, 2020 6th edition

ISBN 978-0-957585-6-6 252pp 221x170mm, c. 350 monochrome images
Laminated colour cover, softback

Author: Tom Sheppard, MBE

READERSHIP: All 4x4, SUV and 'crossover' users. Private or professional. On- and off-road.
Destination: supermarket, school run, Siberia, Sahara.

The motor industry and buying public are at last realising that four-wheel drive is not just for farmers and explorers. It has real application for those dark mornings when earning a crust cannot be put on hold just because the gritters haven't yet made it down your road. And there's enormous potential for fun, recreation and adventure.

'Soft-roaders' are considerably smarter than they were even two years ago - with further advances in the last year - and, through the ingenuity of the engineers, provide all-wheel grip and everyday utility. A sample of current drivelines and critical 4x4 data from Bentayga to Panda Cross are fully covered.

The engineering intricacies of 21st century, computer-test-dependent vehicles has distanced many - including the automotive media - from detailed familiarity with how things work. First explaining basics, the book cuts through the brochure generalities, bling-focus, three-letter abbreviations and gimmicky trade names to explain the realities of the all-important driveline. The driveline is fundamental.

Critical of media clichés and shallow technical depth, the book takes a steady look at buying criteria and the converging 'soft-roader' / 'off-roader' divide.

There’s a uniquely incisive and practical analysis of the dynamics of towing – caravans, cargo or horse-boxes - for which many 4x4s are bought. And there's a 33-page 'Expedition basics' section for the truly adventurous.

As in previous editions, a step-by-step, detailed and wide-ranging treatment looks at  all aspects of using a 4x4 off-road safely – and non-damagingly – to either the vehicle or the environment. For the experienced, valuable techniques and advice. For novices, a measured glimpse of their vehicle's performance envelope and wild-country potential - without white knuckles. What it can and can't do.