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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New guy here looking for some advice.

I owned a Fiat Grande Punto when I lived in Italy and loved it. Now that I’m back in the U.S. I’m thinking about buying a 500 for a fun car and local grocery getter. The model variations are mind boggling and even narrowing the choice to some flavor of the Abarth still presents me with a lot of confusing choices. Help me zero in on a good choice.

I have no particular price limit but I want a used car where price vs condition/mileage makes sense and I’m hoping to find one somewhere in the South East.
Is there a particular year after which various options make the car significantly nicer? I’m thinking about navigation systems, interior improvements, etc. I know the very early ones are pretty basic while the newest ones are actually pretty luxurious.

Any concerns about cars with more than 100,000 miles? I would not put a lot of miles on this car, but I hate to buy one which is due for an immediate cam belt change which I think is at 150K.

I’m not a fan of soft tops, but I would not rule one out if I found an otherwise great Abarth model. Does the soft top seal well? Should I stay away from an older car with the soft top option? I’m guessing replacing a top or replacing the mechanical top parts isn’t cheap. I know for sure a leaking top would not make me happy.

Any special engine or gear box problems associated with the higher horsepower Abarth models?

Is there a non-Abarth model which might be upgraded without spending too much money to bring it up the performance level or at least the fun level of the Abarth? I’m thinking about things like changing springs and shocks, wheels, exhaust, and perhaps even the turbo. I’m not interested in a total rebuild, but I’m willing to upgrade a less expensive model and it might be fun to make my car unique. But it might make more sense to just shop exclusively for the Abarth option. What say you?
 
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