If you're still using the front lift spacers with the zone kit, stock length shocks up front. Rear shocks would be longer, yes. You can replace the fronts with full length coil overs and remove the spacers though, if you wanted. Would give a nice ride, but a bit more costly.
Coil overs will present the same geometry problems as a level would. They're generally better, since there's some correction for the loss of up and /or down travel, but still gonna have the same angles at rest. While stationary, the only thing affecting suspension geometry is ride height (unless corrected by a full lift) regardless of how you got it.
There aren't many lifts (that aren't actually just levels) at that height. You probably won't find anything comparable in cost either. Next step, at that height you want, would probably be to compare the leveling blocks to a set of decent coil overs and replace rear shocks. The only real difference between either of those level type kits and a "lift" is going to be geometry correction for uca, CV, and mayhaps a diff drop. That said, 2.5" in most cases doesn't require those so it's rarely done.
Peanut butter doesn't work, nor will quick detailer. They both just mask it and make it look wet. Just get an old school square rubber pencil eraser and gently rub it off the plastic. Obviously don't use one with a pencil attached...
Depending on tire width, stock wheels will potentially give you issues regardless of knuckle vs bracket lift. Knuckle may have contact near the upper ball joint. Bracket may contact on the actual arms of the UCA, and /or the sway bar. Both types of lift recommend less backspacing than stock 20s. Of course, this all assumes you are referring to 20's, and will be influenced in what year (what uca) you have. I don't think stock 18's will clear regardless.
Ah, if only someone would make replica wheels with more accommodating offsets. Many like the stock wheels, especially the snowflakes. And your math works, but tire manufacturers aren't quite that precise. One brand 285 might be 283,whereas another might be 286. Then there's the difference in how aggressive the sidewall lugs are. Lots of variables.
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