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All The Best Options For Lifting Your VA Chassis WRX or Sti
(Links To Buy Each Kit Included)
When the 2015 Subaru WRX hit showroom floors, the feelings were mixed on the styling and the absence of a hatch option. This was also the first model year that Subaru chose to separate the WRX from the Impreza line. Instead of being a trim level of the highly successful Impreza, the WRX and STI were built on their own entirely new platform. But needless to say, the WRX remained popular across a wide range of consumers. Folks who love outdoor activities with a penchant for spirited driving are specifically fond of the powerful AWD rally-inspired WRX.
In recent years there has been an explosion of people becoming unwilling to part ways with their turbocharged WRX or STI in exchange for the ground clearance of a pickup truck or SUV. Instead, loyal Subaru owners have started lifting their cars and multiple companies now make it easier than ever to lift a WRX or STI.
While a WRX will never be able to compete with cars like Rubicons or 4Runners as a dedicated “off-roader,” or rock crawler, thousands of people have enjoyed the ability to reach trailheads and snowy ski resorts in their Subie without crunching their oil pan. Not to mention the practicality, comfort, driving experience, and fuel economy are unmatched when compared to a large 4×4.
In this article, we’re going to give you all the info you need to decide whether or not to lift your WRX or STI, and we’ll share our favorite lift kits currently on the market. While lifting your Subaru is easier than ever, it can be done wrong and some kits out there simply aren’t worth bothering with as they can disturb the vehicle’s factory handling and alignment.
Table of Contents
While lifting your car in and of itself won’t do too much to change the performance, the supporting mods can create quite an impact. In particular, installing bigger tires can be the most noticeable factor.
The most common pros and cons (okay it’s mostly cons, but still) are as follows:
While you will gain the ability to traverse more challenging terrain, your WRX may experience more body roll and harder cornering ability. This isn’t a huge deal for most drivers. You just need to be aware that it won’t handle as nimbly on the pavement as a lowered WRX or STI.
Again, the lift kit itself won’t do much to impact this. But once you install larger, heavier tires, you may see a drop of 1-5 mpg. However, this number can vary wildly based on your ultimate tire selection and driving habits, and we think the ability to travel off-road substantially outweighs this issue.
Once your vehicle is lifted with heavier wheels/tires, your engine, transmission, and axles are going to be forced to work harder to handle the added weight. But with some strategic throttle control and realistic expectations of capability, your vehicle can still have a long, healthy life.
This applies to anyone who installs a heavier wheel and tire combo on their car. Your brakes are going to have to work harder to bring the vehicle to a stop with the extra unsprung weight. Be aware of this and give yourself a little more space on the road for braking distance.
Upgraded Suspension Assemblies
Lift springs are stiffer and taller than the stock springs that came on your vehicle. You’ll have to swap out the factory springs with the new kit. They are really good for anyone who plans to load extra gear into the car. They also help stabilize the car’s handling ability even with a higher center of gravity after lifting. The main complaint with a stiffer spring is that they can be a little more jarring on bumpy roads.
Strut spacer kits are usually less expensive and easier to install than a spring lift. You bolt them to the top of the strut towers and they push your entire shock absorber down to add lift. The main issue with using only a strut spacer is that they don’t create additional suspension travel or offer a performance spring rate. So you may experience “butt sag” when loaded up with camping gear or off-road recovery gear. Here are some of the most important things to look for when selecting a good strut spacer kit: camber correction, multi-link/subframe spacers, customer service (reputation) and quality workmanship.
Some kits actually offer both springs and spacers. For example, RalliTek incorporate both forms of lift to provide proper off-road capability.
Longer suspension assemblies (longer struts, or long travel coilovers) are the ideal way to lift a vehicle. However, they are extremely expensive. Long travel coilovers usually start at $1600 and will require special order if they ever need to be replaced. This will cause at least a week of downtime in most cases.
We typically only recommend this option to people who have a chunk of disposable income and truly plan to abuse the vehicle. Anyone who wants to participate in higher speed “rally style” driving will require a long travel coilover setup (it’s okay. Sometimes we pretend to be Ken Block too.) If you are planning to just casually drive your Subaru through the forest at lower speeds, this might be overkill.
We also suggest this option to anyone who already has worn out shocks and is planning to replace them anyway. In this case, you may actually save money. If your current struts are in good condition though, this might not be the best choice.
Best 2015-2021 WRX/STI Lift Kits
Photo: Property of LP Aventure
LP Aventure is a company based in Canada that has years of authority in the off-road and over-landing industry. They pride themselves on NHTSA and FMVSS126 motor vehicle safety standards, meaning that their kits allow your WRX to retain full factory safety features while providing extra all terrain capabilities.
Their 2 inch lift kit for the VA chassis WRX & STI will give your car the extra clearance to get around in the forest a little easier. We really like how comprehensive their kits are. They come with everything needed in order to lift your car the right way.
We see a lot of questions from people asking “I just installed a lift kit and now my wheels aren’t centered in the back anymore. How do I fix it?” or even “I bought a cheap kit from someone on Ebay and the alignment shop can’t get my camber within spec.” This kit takes the guesswork out of tracking down additional parts to do the job right.
Installing this lift kit will not interfere with your Subaru’s Eyesight system. We’ve talked to multiple people who’ve used it with no issues whatsoever.
Their kits are available from them or on Tire Rack which offers free shipping. If we were to purchase this kit, tirerack.com is probably where we would buy it. We’ve bought tires from them in the past and had fantastic customer service experiences.
- Kits arrive with everything needed to lift your WRX or STI 2 inches without changing ride quality
- Spacers are designed with 304 stainless steel and are TIG welded. They are tough, durable and resistant to corrosion. (Make sure to spend a little extra on the powder coated kit unless you want to paint them yourself)
- Maintains original camber specs
- Includes multi link spacers for rear tire alignment
- Lengthened brake lines spacers
- Longer exhaust spacers included
- Hand brake spacers
- Installation instructions conveniently located on their site for DIY’ers.
The LP Aventure WRX lift kits are a little more expensive than some spacer options, but they have a great reputation, are well designed, and contain a comprehensive parts list to make sure you have everything you need! If you want to order a kit and have it installed with no headaches, this is the right kit for you.
TIP: we found that tirerack.com occasionally has sale prices on LP Aventure kits. They also offer free shipping which can save between $40-60 depending on where you live.
We really appreciate the research and development that ADF puts into their products. They’re always one of the first companies to offer a lift kit when a new model comes out.
As far as strut top spacers go, ADF offers multiple options. However, their 1 inch lift is cost-effective and basic enough for the average DIY’er to do at home.
Their HDPE kits are really affordable and are available with a 1-3/8″ rear option for anyone who carries extra gear in the trunk. This helps cut down on “butt sag.”
If you’re not 100% sure where to start or what lift will best meet your needs, we recommend calling ADF. They’ve always been really helpful any time we’ve had a technical question. We’ve used their kits and have had great results.
- 1 inch of lift with an additional 3/8″ available for the rear at only $20 extra
- Usually available for under $170
- HDPE construction makes corrosion a non-issue
- Requires no extensive modification or additional expensive parts
- Perfect for the casual driver who just wants a tad bit more clearance with a bigger tire
Photo: Property of Flatout Suspension
If you have a taste for the finer things in life and prefer to install only the most premium equipment on your off-road builds, going with a long-travel coilover lift is the right choice for you.
Rather than just spacing your current suspension down, this kit extends the actual length of your shocks. This means less wheel lift on the trails and more traction.
If you have the funds and plan to really test your WRX on the trails, the Flatout Suspension GR Lite is a great option. It’s the first long-travel coilover system that has been offered to the Subaru community at an affordable price with good post-sale support.
These coilovers can be rebuilt after they’ve been used and abused on the trails. This means you’re not going to be stuck having to buy an entirely new setup once you finally wear them out.
We’ve heard nothing but good things about the support from the team over at Flatout. We definitely recommend checking them out if you want to lift your Outback.
- Fully adjustable up to 3″ over stock height (remember to purchase multi link/subframe spacers to keep your rear wheels aligned properly if you go above 1 inches of lift)
- Provides 6 full inches of travel in the front and rear
- Hand Assembled
- Fully Serviceable
- Highly Polished Electro-Plated Nickel Cartridge
- CNC Machined High-flow Aluminum Piston
- Stainless Steel Shims
- Light Weight Synthetic Shock Oil
RalliTek is an Oregon Based rally/performance shop that’s been on the forefront of creating cutting edge parts for all Subaru models for over two decades. As partners with one of the most well-known Subaru tuning shops, PRE, they have a heavy presence and knowledge base in all areas of Subaru culture.
This authority and knowledge base has carried over into their off-road presence. They provide solid parts that they have tested extensively. If you live in Oregon, you may run into them at Brown’s camp doing big boy trails in their test vehicles.
We really like the fact that this kit incorporates a combination of lift springs and small spacers to achieve a 2 inch lift. This means the spring rate will be improved without having to switch over to a completely new shock/strut system.
“The RalliTEK 2” lift kit for the 2015+ STI features either RalliTEK Subframe Drop Spacers OR Whiteline adjustable rear control arms for camber correction after the lift. Factory front arms are adjustable from the factory and do not need to be replaced.
When lifting any car over an inch it’s also important to consider sway bar geometry. With RalliTEK adjustable endlinks the factory bar geometry can be retained. In order to keep body roll under control RalliTEK pairs this kit with RalliTEK springs. The spring rates are slightly stiffer than the factory spring rates to counteract the elevated center of gravity due to the lift. These springs sit more level than King springs for the best look.”
- 2 inches of lift
- All Hardware Included
- Includes options for rear alignment correction
- Lift springs included
- US-based and US-made
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