Ok I'm in the middle of doing this install myself. I've slowly been putting together the parts I need. I've created a thread on this very topic last week. I also have done a lot of searing on this forum and found plenty of answers. So, if you just want to lower your car for mainly looks and a tad bit more handling upgrade. Then I think you need to start with these.
1. Lowering Springs (1-1.5'' drop)
2. Performance Shocks and Struts (There are 2 options here 2011+ sku's and 2005-2010 sku's)
3. New Strut Mounts (You can choose caster/camber plates if you want)
4. Adjustable Panhard Bar (Add the brace if you want as well for strength)
I have purchased the SR Performance Springs from American Muscle. They lower the car 1.5" all around give or take. There are so may options here for springs. Do a lot of searching on brands and you will get lots of info. Ie. Are the springs really stiff, do they lower as advertised, etc etc. Most popular seem to be Eibach, Steeda, H&R, BMR, FRPP, and even SR for the budget price. But again too many top list options wise. Most people seem to go with a trusted brand and the ride height they are most comfortable with. For budget, I would try and stick with a 1-1.5" drop.
New Shocks and Struts
I have purchased the FRPP Dynamic shocks and struts (A 2005-2010 sku). They seem to be designed to work with stock springs or aftermarket lowering springs. The stock shocks and struts should work ok with lowering springs, but I opted to just change them for a shock and strut designed for lowering springs. It's also sometimes a good idea just because installing them with springs is easy since the new springs have to be mounted to the struts anyhow. There are a few companies that make shocks and struts for 2011+ and if you purchase these you can use your stock strut mounts (if they hold together) or 2011+ caster camber plates. Most of the shocks and struts are 2005-2010 and the threads on top are a bit longer than 2011+. We can use 2005-2010 shocks and struts, but we need to use GT500 Strut Mounts for installation as we have 2011+ cars.
So I haven't purchased these yet, but I'm going to go with the GT500 Mounts, because my shocks and struts are a 2005-2010 style. People have told me that with a mild drop at 1.5" there may not be the need for Caster Camber plates. If you drop your car 2"+ there's probably more of chance you might need them. If you track or auto-cross your car, then you might want them so you can dial in your camber preference too. If you want to use a Caster Camber plate with a 2005-2010 strut then you will need to buy the GT500 mounts as well as the Caster Camber plate, you will need part of the rubber bottom of the GT500 mount to attach to the CC plates. Most popular brands are Steeda and Maximum Motorsports. This part can get confusing on how they are compatible, but just look at AM, Steeda, and MM's sites for install guides and it gives you good answers. If your deciding to stick with stock shocks and struts or 2011+ struts and shocks, then the stock mounts can be used. They are supposedly very fragile though when taken apart.
Adjustable Panhard Bar
Don't know if you need this as a must during alignment. I haven't talked to my installer but if I don't need it for alignment, then I may hold off on this for later. However, this helps center the rear. Since most cars are off even in stock form, I'm thinking this is a must regardless. I would also get one that is on car adjustable. Steeda, J&M, BMR, Whiteline, etc all make them.
So I think that might be all you need to get your car lowered and aligned. If i'm missing something please someone chime in, because that's how I've been researching and been told. Also, you shouldn't need Bump-steer kits or ball joints if you drop is 1-1.5". It seems like if you go past 2" in drop that you may need a lot more to do the install right. So keep it within your budget!
My next part in suspension will be Lower Control Arms, Re-Location LCA Brackets, and maybe Sway Bars.If the Panhard Bar isn't required for alignment, then I would save it for this 2nd part of my suspension too. I only street drive and to be honest I don't care too much for the turning and carving aspect of handling. I have zero twisty roads here, as it's mainly straight from light to light. If Sway Bars only affect turns, then I might skip them.
I hope some of this info helps you. Most of it is just re-typed from other threads I've read or been told. If any or all of it is wrong, someone please let me know lol.
Hey thanks for the response man. I was actually trying to search the forums but for some reason my searches never find anything. I was for sure going to get the panhard, but now ill add the shocks and struts to my list, it seems lowering a car is more work than I actually thought.
2012 MCA 6 speed auto.
Mods: JLT CAI,3.73s,BBK TB,lethal x pipe,93 tune