Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Subcompact Showcase: Jake Brown's Lifted Toyota Yaris

Jake's Lifted Toyota Yaris

I've said it before: lifting is the new lowering. In fact, I wrote about this trend back in 2014. Five years later, I keep seeing cars that used to be typically lowered getting lifted. Heck, there are even Facebook groups that celebrate this, such as the Safari All The Cars group. Lifting cars is definitely a thing. 

Enter Jake Brown, who lives in Maine. Jake took his 2009 Toyota Yaris and gave it some extra ground clearance so he could better explore New England year-round. If you're a long-time reader, you may remember the lifted Toyota Yaris Overlander I wrote about back in 2014. This is a similar idea. 

Stock 2009 Toyota Yaris liftback

The car has been Jake's daily driver since 2014 and was stock before the transition, as evidenced above. It spent most of its life in Mississippi but recently moved with Jake to the western foothills of Maine.

Lifted Toyota Yaris in snow

"I knew I'd need a heavier vehicle to handle the winter road conditions, but the Yaris is unparalleled for fuel economy, and it doesn't hurt that you can park it in a tight spot," says Jake. His brother-in-law, Matt, came up with the idea to lift the car. Matt, a car enthusiast and skillful mechanic, hashed out the details. This could help transform the vehicle into something that could better handle the harsh Maine winters.

Jake said the unique build had appeal. Since the car was sold in the U.S. from model years 2007–2019, there were plenty of them around for parts. Plus, he'd never seen one modified quite like this. "We knew this vehicle would turn heads."

Lifted Toyota Yaris with 205/75R15 General Grabber Tires

A 30mm (1.2 inch) lift was installed using custom spacers. More ground clearance comes by way of 205/75R15 General Grabber tires wrapped around Sparco Terra wheels. The rolling stock is more than 3-inches larger in diameter (that's 14.3% bigger) than the stock 185/60R15 tires providing extra ground clearance, albeit there's a tradeoff in acceleration. Plus, the all-terrain tires provide excellent traction in snow and rough conditions. Sounds like just the right setup for Maine.

Custom Toyota Yaris roof rack

To haul more gear, Jake added a custom-welded rack to the roof and vintage Thule crossbars. Jason says the roof basket improves the overall utility, allowing transport for camping and hiking gear on adventures to Maine's outdoor attractions. A coat of polish and some decals finish the basket's look. We're firm believers in the utility of roof racks on small cars, so this seems like a great way to expand the Yaris' versatility.

205/75R15 General Grabber tires on Sparco Terra wheels

Other Modifications

Jake's modifications aren't limited to a lift and wheels/tires. The car has a K&N air filter and replaced MAF sensor as well as a TRD exhaust system. Other niceties include roof drip moldings, a stubby antenna, TRD decals, and a host of stickers. 

Toyota Yaris TRD exhaust

"As an outdoor enthusiast, I plan to use this vehicle to its full capacity as I explore New England, adding more memories (and stickers) along the way," says Jake. 

Here's the full list of mods and supplies:

  • 30 mm lift kit (strut spacers) -- front and rear
  • Tires/Wheels - 205/75R15 Grabbers with Sparco Terra Rims (Phillips TPMS)
  • TRD exhaust
  • Custom fabricated rack welded to roof 
  • Basket (Apex RBC-4938HD) -- attached to roof rack with refurbished Thule Racks and U bolts
  • MAF sensor replacement 
  • K&N air filter
  • Roof drip moldings
  • Litty Stubby antenna
  • Replaced headlights (headlamp renewal kit)
  • New wiper blades (including rear)
  • TRD decals
  • Stickers
Jake would like to thank the people that helped to contribute this Yaris and its story including Ashley E. Priebe Brown, and his brother-in-law, Matthew Priebe.

I think Jake's build is great. It's not over-the-top crazy, yet ads capability and versatility to a fuel-efficient, proven platform. And if this build is any evidence, you can expect to see more lifted cars rolling around your neck of the woods soon. 


Deffe said...

How are there no comments on this?!
You, Sir have created a thing of absolute awesomeness and beauty and I salute you.

Good fricken job, dude! I wanna do this so bad now.

bBoy said...

Interesting, thanks. Didn't think this small of a lift would present such a dramatic change in appearance. Any issues with fender clearance at the front with wheels turned when hitting bumps? Will consider this with my short on clearance 2000 Toyota bB (JDM, aka 2004-06 Scion xB USDM) that shares chassis/drivetrain with the Echo.

Anonymous said...

Love this Safari concept for something like the Yaris. The stubby body and low front/rear overhangs really lends itself to the slightly lifted Safari/Rally-lite look and it would be great to see this look more on small cars. Reminds me of how a few people have taken Scion xD's, thrown some similar Sparco wheels and tires on them, lifted them a couple inches, added some mudguards and taken them to rally and they do look the part. I think having this extra ground clearance and ruggedness is very practical.

I'm riding on the stock ride height with my 3 door Yaris hatch and while I think it would look good an inch lower, I am thankful every day for the ground clearance that I do have. Some nice spoked alloys (Sparco-esque knockoffs) wrapped in tires with some decent sidwall and the factory plastic mudguards completes the look of a rugged little urban/suburban car that has to deal with potholes, driveways, curbs, concrete parking strips, dips and bumps with aplomb, without scraping the undercarriage or bodywork.

Celcamp said...

Great roof rack :)

jasonwiener said...

This is SO sweet! Mind me asking which spacer kit you used?

Anonymous said...

Sooo cool. I'am thinking to do it on my car too. Where there no problem with the wide tires while turning? Don't the rub on the chassis? Regards Daniel