I doubt there is anyone in the NZ off-road scene that hasn’t realised the “straight out the box” off-roading capability of the little Jimny, but I’m also pretty sure most of them also realise just how compact they are.
With a proper 2Hi – 4Hi – 4Lo transfer case, solid axles front and rear, entry, exit and ramp-over angles that look like they have come from a “How to build a winch challenge truck” handbook they are a proper go anywhere 4×4.
I was fortunate enough to get to experience an early release Jimny a few years ago in the Akatarawas, and was seriously impressed by the little trucks ability in the challenging terrain we had to negotiate.
The trouble is, that compact exterior is wrapped around a compact interior, and when you have a couple of bodies in there, there is not much room for anything else. Once you get to that end of the trail campsite, you’d better be ready to rough it out there.
Enter the Safari Pack.
While offering up a couple of styling cues, the Jimny Safari Pack is mostly made up of load carrying accessories like an ARB roof rack and side rails, steel wheels and bigger tyres, and a massive cargo liner for the whole rear area with the seats folded down.
On the styling front, the Jimny gets a replacement heritage grill that looks like it should have always been there, front window wind deflectors, front and rear mudflaps that should have always been there, and a Safari decal.
On the practical side of things, the bigger wheels and tyres add a bit more stability to the drive feel, especially with a load on the roof, and add a little to the already great off-road clearances.
But it’s the roof rack that really did it for us. Out for an off-road weekend, we were able to get tent, gazebo, chairs, table etc up there with no issues, and with the seats down and the liner fitted there was room for a 40L ARB fridge, food, drinks, clothes, bedding etc.
It really was a game changer.
The roof rack in the Safari Pack uses an ARB bed, with tradie side rails, and a front wind deflector, and was well supplied with tiedown points.
Heading out along Pongakawa Valley road, the extra weight up high was barely discernable, and, although you could feel the effects of it when things got tougher, it was never a problem.
I’d like to see how it drove with a roof top tent up there, I don’t reckon it would phase it much at all.
The track down to the picnic and ski areas at the back of Lake Rotoma has a bit of a chequered history, as it has been closed off a few times, and can create a few issues for the unprepared, as the volcanic sand gets badly rutted and dug out at times, but even loaded up the little Zuke took it in its stride. It really belonged there.
From there we were able to head off further around the lake shore for the afternoon with a couple of other families and friends for company, and, although we weren’t camping there, we were able to make our selves very comfortable for lunch, and an afternoon on the beach.
However, since our adventure out there, DOC have again blocked 4x4access to the lake, apparently in response to a bit of bush bashing that has been occurring through the native bush reserve area. Always the idiots wreck it for everyone else!
At a premium of $1000.00, the JX Safari Pack is only available in New Zealand, and in limited numbers. With the possible exception of a slight increase in fuel use, we can’t think of a single reason for not specifying it.