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How To Modify a 2013-2018 Focus ST

Introduction

The Ford Focus ST is an absolute riot of a car. Prior to its release in 2012, the hot hatchback market was lacking in the United States. If you wanted a car with utility and good fuel economy but wanted a fun driving experience, your option was pretty much the Volkswagen GTI. Ford’s release of the Focus ST to the North American market provided an awesome driver’s experience at a great price. With the ST’s release came a solid aftermarket with the best upgrades for the Focus ST becoming quickly available.

I took advantage of Ford’s 0% financing and started my journey with a black Ford Focus ST. From my years of ownampership and lessons learned through forums, I compiled a list of the best Ford Focus ST upgrades for you to take the guesswork out!

Best Ford Focus ST Upgrades

Rear Motor Mount

If I could only do one modification to the Ford Focus ST, it would definitely be the rear motor mount upgrade. The factory rear motor mount is soft and allows the engine to move due to it not being able to handle the factory torque numbers. Switching to a stronger rear motor mount will limit wheel hop at launch and improve your shifter feel.

Upgraded Front Mount Intercooler

The factory intercooler is decent, but is prone to heat soak. Unfortunately, this provides inconsistent power during spirited driving or track racing. Switching to an upgraded intercooler, even at stock power levels, provides much lower charge air temperatures. The lower temperatures provide consistent power and will also allow you to push the power levels further! Personally, I went with a Mountune intercooler. I liked its performance and it came powder coated black for a stealthy look!

Turboback Exhaust or Down Pipe Upgrade

Turbocharged cars like the Ford Focus ST love a free-flowing exhaust. While the factory catback exhaust is not restrictive, the downpipe provides a chokepoint for the Turbocharger. A downpipe upgrade will let your Focus crank up the power levels. Should you elect to move forward with an aftermarket catback exhaust, I would find one with a quality muffler. Frankly, the car can drone pretty bad without a muffler, especially when you upgrade the downpipe.

For my car, I did a muffler delete with a high flow resonator. I loved it as it did not drone at all. If I were to buy a complete catback exhaust from a company, I would probably choose Borla’s catback exhaust. My old neighbor had an ST with this exhaust and it sounded amazing whenever he left the house!

Cobb Accessport

With the addition of the turbo-back exhaust and the front mount intercooler, its time for power! With the Cobb Accessport and a tune from a reputable tuner, the Focus ST will take advantage of these upgrades. When I finished the tune, the power delivery was perfect. Along with the power upgrades, the data monitoring capabilities are great. The Accessport allows you to monitor inlet temperatures, boost levels, and more. All of this combined make this one of the best Ford Focus ST upgrades available.

Rear Sway Bar

With many front wheel drive cars, the Focus ST leans towards understeer. To fix this and improve the handling, upgrade to a thicker rear sway bar! A thicker rear sway bar provides a more neutral handling feel and minimizes body roll! The ST loves suspension mods and in my opinion, you will see the biggest enhancement to driving performance with mods like a rear sway bar. 

Wheels and Tires

The Focus ST comes with a decent wheel and tire set up from the factory. However, you aren’t here because you want to keep your car stock! The Focus ST’s 5x108mm bolt pattern is odd but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some nice wheels for it! Personally, I went with a set of 18×9.5 Enkei NT03s! These wheels are an awesome set that look great on a wide range of cars.

Conclusion

Overall, these upgrades will transform your Focus ST without breaking the bank. While you can go build a big turbo motor, most people just want a bit more power and better handling. Fortunately, the Focus ST’s aftermarket has a huge aftermarket to fit any budget.

When modifying any car, consider planning out your goals. With my build, I definitely could have avoided wasting money on parts that I bought twice. Regardless of how you modify your Focus ST, you will not be disappointed!

About Me

My name is Stef and I am the founder of Powershift Auto, a blog dedicated to car culture and educating the future generation of enthusiasts. Like MartiniWorks, I love cars and the real community that is generated through these amazing machines.

Stef Overton

Automotive Blogger (powershiftauto.com), determined to revamp the car community