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Josh Jacquot talks about our GR Lite

Josh, who?? Josh Jacquot, former editor of my absolute favorite magazine from back in the day, ' Sport Compact Car'. He was later a reviews editor for 'Car & Driver' and has more than 20 years of experience writing about and testing cars for other various automotive publications. All this to say, he knows a thing or three.

Earlier this year, Josh contacted us expressing interest in a suspension for his newly acquired Subaru WRX. He shared what he was after, and we made some recommendations and ultimately decided that the Flatout GR Lite would fit the bill.

He has long since received his suspension, has installed, did some road tests, etc. So without further ado, here's what he had to say..

Flatout Suspension GR Lite Coilovers Install and Driving Impression

On the surface, choosing Flatout's GR Lite coilovers seemed obvious. There was no other suspension that offered the promise of rough-terrain use and all of its features: Adjustable ride height, adjustable rebound damping, and custom spring rates. And after living with GR Lite coilovers for a few months, that initial impression is deeply reinforced. You see, most of the world isn't covered in slate-smooth pavement. So our car's shouldn't be set up for that. And my GR WRX's too-soft stock springs and aging dampers let the chassis flounder hopelessly. It wasn't long before my car's bump stops and my patience reached their limits.

Bolting on the GR Lite coilovers is a fairly easy task, especially if you've done this kind of wrenching before. Following Flatout's removal and installation instructions for the GR will get you most of the way there, but you'll probably want to disconnect one front anti-roll bar end link just to make life easier. Also, an impact wrench will make tightening that end link a lot easier when things go back together. An extra hand to pull down the rear lateral links when removing the rear shocks wouldn't hurt, either. But the whole job can be done alone with some patience.

Setting the ride height is equally straightforward provided you follow the instructions Flatout offers here. This is a bit of a trial-and-error operation, but it can be done alone in an hour or so without a lift. Plan on getting some exercise operating your jack, though. Then, of course, it's off to the alignment shop.

Because of the nature of our roads and the fact that I use my car in deep snow during the winter, I set my ride height to one inch above stock. That's a sweet spot for sufficient bump travel without looking like I'm seeking an overlanding approach to Subaru ownership. And the GR's rear suspension really needs that extra travel anyway. The GR Lite front struts decouple ride height adjustments from bump travel by allowing the spring/damper assembly to move independently of the strut ears that bolt to the knuckle. It's a pretty sweet feature that you'll not find elsewhere at this price. And it means you can raise and lower the ride height without a corresponding change in suspension stroke.

My coilovers shipped with 275 inch-pound springs at all four corners (Flatout can customize this to your choosing) and given the snow duty my car sees I definitely wouldn't want it any stiffer (less grip demands lower spring rates). The one-inch increase in ride height coupled with the appropriate spring and damping rates make the GR chassis highly capable on imperfect roads. Mid-corner bumps that once upset the chassis are now disregarded as trivial or ignored altogether. Most speed bumps don't really matter. Potholes are largely irrelevant.

Ride quality is firm but tolerable. But perhaps the WRX's greatest asset using this setup is that concerns over bottoming are largely eliminated. My WRX is now firm and well damped without feeling like an aftermarket mess. And, it's faster, more controllable, and a lot more fun. It works like a WRX should. Raised is the new lowered, people.



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