Lifted Toyota FJ Cruiser pickup truck conversion

Shopping Guide: What Lift Kit Should I choose? Types, Features, Prices

So you decided to install bigger tires and a lift on your truck, SUV or a Crossover and now trying to figure out what kit would be the best to fit your needs and the budget? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, we’ve all been through it. In this post, we will list the most notable suspension lift solutions available on the market.

What Suspension Options Are Available for my Truck, SUV, Crossover, or a Van?

  • Leveling kits & Spacers (no serious off-roading) $50-$500
  • Body lift (no serious off-roading) $50-500
  • Full suspension Lift kits (good for serious off-roading) $600 & UP
  • Long travel suspension kits (hardcore off-roading, off-road racing) $1500 & Up
    *The prices above are a rough estimate.
View Lift Kits by Rough Country

Our Top Pick on Amazon

subaru crosstrek overland off-road project build Anderson Design Fabrication (ADF) lift

#1 What are the Leveling kits & Spacers?

Leveling kits and spacers are typically represented by 1-3″ tall metal or rubber-like extensions that go on top of your struts or coil springs.
It is probably the most popular solution to give that off-road-ready look to your model and get a few extra inches of space in the wheel wells to accommodate slightly bigger-than-stock off-road tires.

  • PROS
  • Improves the ground clearance
  • Allows you to install bigger wheels
  • Easy to install
  • Low price
  • CONS
  • Doesn’t improve the suspension qualities in terms of wheel travel or softness
  • Will not work for hard-core off-roading or racing

Available for the majority of Trucks, SUV, Crossovers, Wagons and even Hatchbacks

View Available Spacer Lift Kits

Our selection on Amazon

Ford Raptor crossover

#2 What is a body lift?

The body lift is represented by the spacers that go between the frame and the body of a truck or SUV. Gives the looks, and extra space in the wheel wells to clear larger tires, but doesn’t change the suspension qualities.

  • PROS
  • Improves the wheel clearance
  • Allows you to install bigger wheels
  • Easy to install
  • Low price
  • CONS
  • Doesn’t improve the suspension qualities in terms of wheel travel or softness.
  • Will not work for serious off-roading
  • Slightly moves the center of gravity up (potentially may increase a body roll)

Available only for: Body-on-Frame Trucks, SUV, and Vans and some old-school cars like Crown Vic

View All Body Lift Kits

Our selection on Amazon

KING 2.5 OEM Performance shocks (extended travel; with adjusters) set to about 3" of lift in the rear and 2.5" in the front

#3 What is a full suspension lift kit

These kits actually replace the factory suspension components with the more advanced elements designed to enhance the wheel and ground clearance, handling, damping, and improve the articulation(wheel travel). Typically a full suspension lift kit includes the new shocks, struts, coilovers, upper control arms. Perfect for complex trails and serious off-roading.

  • PROS
  • Improves the wheel and ground clearance as well as the approach and departure angles
  • Improves the handling and ride comfort or a rough terrain
  • Improves the articulation (wheel travel)
  • Will work for serious off-roading
  • Very reliable
  • CONS
  • Price
  • Complicated installation

Available only for: both Body-on-Frame and Unibody Trucks, SUV, Crossovers, and Vans

Ford F150 prerunner racing in the desert
1994 OBS Ford F150 Prerunner built by @thechristianewing

#4 What are the long-travel suspension kits?

It’s basically a more advanced version of the full suspension lift kits designed for hardcore wheeling and off-road racing. As you may have already guessed from the name, these kits allow gaining longer wheel travel and widen the track, which is achieved by changing the entire suspension geometry. This means that all of the suspension components are extended and reinforced to handle the toughest abuse and ensure proper damping for the vehicle.
Such kits are pretty expensive, not only due to the cost of the parts themselves but also due to the tremendous amount of research and development.

What kit is right for me?

Of course, it wouldn’t be possible to give you a direct answer, because no one knows your needs and requirements better than you. I’ve prepared a couple of questions that will help you to find the answer to this question.

Function

Think about your needs and plans for the next year or two

  • What places do you wish to visit?
  • Google what roads would lead you there
  • What’s the terrain like on those roads?
  • Do you really need a serious suspension lift to make it there and back safely?
  • What if it’s raining?

Looks

What would you like your rig to look like? The visual appeal of your SUV is important too.

  • What wheel size do you like in terms of the looks (wide, upsize)?
  • What lift is need to put them on?

Budget

Keep in mind, you would need a lot of other stuff to prepare for the off-road trip of your dream too. Wheels, accessories, recovery, and camping gear.

Conclussion

Basic 1-4″ leveling kit with strut spacers will work for the majority of the Ascent owners looking to start exploring off-road terrains. The good news is that these kits are pretty affordable and relatively easy to install. Any local body shop will be able to get them installed for you in case if you don’t like to turn wrenches. If you do, on the other hand – it will be a pretty cool DIY project that wouldn’t take more than one day to perform.
Keep in mind, you don’t need an extensively modified rig to enjoy off-roading. Do the basic preparation, install proper off-road tires, and a spacer lift kit, and you’re ready to go!

You may be surprised: but Amazon offers a lot of complete solutions for various models. Check out the offerings by the most reputable brands.

Lift kits for specific models