August 22, 2013

Horse Sense: Steeda is pretty serious about the Focus ST. The company even has a Team Steeda Focus ST T-shirt.

After spending a couple of days driving the ’13 Focus ST from Ann Arbor, Michigan, down to Florida, I was smitten. The car was a blast to drive. It had intriguing power but was even more seductive in the turns. Taking part of that trip through the Tennessee mountains taught me that it was quite a handler right out of the box.

After that drive, I knew if was to get a non-Mustang daily driver, the ST was at the top of the list. Yet after I finally owned one and started pushing it in the turns, the rearend did seem a little twitchy, and the body roll was noticeable. It wasn’t hateful, but I knew there was room for improvement. Plus, the ride height, like most stock cars, was just a bit too high.

Having had great luck with Steeda’s Mustang suspension gear, it wasn’t a hard decision to continue the theme of adding that company’s bolt-on gear to the suspension. Steeda offers both a set of lowering springs (PN 555-8305; $259.95) and a rear sway bar (PN 555-1084; $125.96). During an extended visit to the company’s campus, we added a whole host of Steeda gear (see the previous stories in the PSL series) and topped them off with these suspension parts.

As much as I enjoyed the benefits of all the other Steeda parts, I have to say the springs and sway bar provided the biggest, most noticeable improvement. The car handled well before, but now it is glued to the road. It seems like every other car is in slow motion on on-ramps and off-ramps. This little ST just wants to keep accelerating and pulling those gs.

If you are considering a suspension upgrade for your ST, I can’t recommend these parts enough. Better yet, the change in ride quality is minimal. You feel and hear just a bit more, but it’s completely livable.

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Whether you install the springs yourself or have them put in at a pro shop, like Steeda, you are going to need an alignment. Steve set things right using Steeda’s computerized laser alignment rack.