The desert felt just a bit lifeless to me, but that's maybe because I loved San Andreas, Tierra Robada with all its ghost towns felt cooler to me.
With that said, I think the desert should be a bit bigger and with more (ghost) towns.
Well I agree with you for the very opposite reason.. To me it never felt lifeless, like there were always somebody with a car to steal within 50 yards. The "Grand Senora Desert" wasn't there. In lore it is, but after all the mountains stop at the chillad side of the alamo, its all Sandy Shores with a big airstrip next to it, then a prison across another road from that, then mountains to hills, then LS.
There was an in game commercial that I felt they advertised the senora desert from GTA lore, but nothing that vast and lifeless was in the map. I know a desert that is vast and empty would seem pointless, but that is what would make the world convincing and make the distance of being "hours" away from LS and Sandy believable. I even think it would be less of a waste than the fully detailed ocean that most dont even take a boat over it much less a sub underneath.
I was at the bottom of the ocean once and I thought "hey if all this water was gone, this would seem like messas and desert terrain". It looks loads of fun too, the fun of being in the ocean was being teased with what could have been, but its all just wasted. Im going to guess by looking at my map that the under water terrain pushed together or raised could add like at least 1/3 more land to the map, which it could have been desert or something.