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Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Grande Punto – Shootout


Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Grande Punto - Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Shootout – Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Grande Punto

Few people would disagree that the Volkswagen Polo and the Fiat Grande Punto are the two best hatchbacks one can buy in India today. Both cars have their USPs which make them a desirable option for buyers, but when it comes to choose between them, its extremely difficult to get a winner. If you are in this dilemma, fear not, as we intend to answer this very question in this road test review comparison between the Volkswagen Polo and the Fiat Grande Punto. So grab some pop corn and soda, this is going to be a long one!

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Styling - The Volkswagen Polo looks very well proportioned. It is a mini-Golf lookalike with the overall no nonsense, simplistic design. The front looks sharp with the distinctive new Volkswagen family face, whereas the side shows a distinctively sporty front overhang and extremely short rear overhang. The rear shows a broad shoulder line with the Polo’s tailgate being opened with the VW logo. The rear does look a bit old fashioned but overall a pleasing car to the eye, specially in the colour red.

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The Fiat Grande Punto was born exactly six years ago and still looks like a masterpiece. If the Polo looks stunning, than the Punto simply looks super-stunning (such a word doesn’t even exist, but as you know, the looks of the Punto can’t be described). The mini-Maserati front and the bold side profile are totally eye catching. The rear could have been better, but we aren’t complaining. The Grande Punto looks smashing from all angles, in all colours. If there is one car we would buy for pure looks, without even bothering to know the specifications and features, it would undoubtedly be the Grande Punto.

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Both look equally stunning when viewed from side. The Polo features an in-built rear spoiler. Fuel tank opening on different sides for both the cars.

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Interiors - If the styling competition was swept away by the Fiat and your expecting it to perform on similar linesl when it comes to interiors, I have some bad news. The Volkswagen’s interiors are much better. Both cars feature 3-spoke steering wheels, but the Punto’s dashboard does show its age. The Polo’s dashboard design is simple yet elegant, the Punto, whereas looks slightly confused. The black color doesn’t really offer airiness in the cabin, something the beige interiors in the Polo manage very well. But when it comes to function, the Punto performs much better.

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Both cars feature foldable keys, but that is all what is common. The Punto is so well loaded with features. For starters, there are audio controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control air-conditioner and electrically operated outside rear view mirrors. The omission of such features on the Polo are very surprising to say the least. Volkswagen will launch an updated version with the addition of a few features but at that time, we will also have the Punto Evo, which has a better looking interior than the Polo. Come to the plastics and one feels that Fiat could have used better quality plastics, come to the Polo and it excels in plastic quality and feel. Everything feels solid and on par with a D-segment car while the Tata influence seemed to reflect on the Punto!

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Ride, Handling, Braking - Both the cars featured here ride on 15-inch wheels and have one of the best ride and handling combination. But there has to be one car, which is better than the other. It was difficult initially to judge as both the Punto and Polo are so close in terms of handling and ride balance. However, the Grande Punto emerges as the winner here. The Punto is sharper than the Polo and no matter what, it just never gives up. Whether your throwing the car through a set of curves, or your driving over potholes, the Punto feels right for the job. Mind you, the Polo is no less and handles beautiful too, but tends to loose grip on very sharp turns.

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Both the cars feature anti-lock brakes with decent sized tyres. The Punto has wider rubber at 195mm, whereas the Polo makes do with 185mm rubber. Again the Punto is the better decelerating vehicle and stops dead in its track at any given speed without a hiccup, mind you, the Punto is heavier than its competition here. In the Polo though, the car tends to loose its line slightly with the anti-lock system working over time to keep things in check.

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Performance - Theoretically it would be unfair to compare these vehicles as both feature very different powertrains. The Polo makes do with 3-cylinder engines, which when read on paper feels slow and noisy. The Punto on the other hand feels decently fast on paper. But come on the road and things change dramatically. The Polo feels the bigger engined car and the Punto seems to lag a bit. The petrol Polo is very revv happy. Although slightly coarse, the Polo’s petrol unit never feels underpowered. On the Punto 1.2, you do feel the lack of thrust. Fuel efficiency of the Polo petrol is much better than the Punto 1.2 petrol, with the car easily returning 14 kmpl compared to the 12.5 kmpl, the FIRE engine offers.

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The Polo TDi again features a 3-pot motor, which is very torquey with a hint of inital turbo lag. Power delivery is linear and the car feels quick once the turbo spools up, albeit a bit vocal. Do we even need to talk about the 1.3 liter Multijet unit which does duty in the Punto? In 75hp form, it feels decent and never underpowered. In 90hp form, it feels quick and in-gear acceleration times are vastly improved. Still want more? We even tested a 105hp Punto, you can read more about it here. Both these engines are very closely matched but the Mutijet is more silent of the two. We choose the Punto 90hp over the Polo for the more power and overall refinements of the national engine of our country.

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As can be seen above, the Swift (Our Support Vehicle) is still the king when it comes to engine performance and managed to keep up with us through out the test. But both the Polo and Punto outdo it on the corners. The clutch feel on both the cars is light and well calibrated. The Polo feels so much better going through the gears. The shift action is butter smooth, making the Polo’s transmission easily the best for small cars in the country. The Punto’s shift is decent as well, nothing that we complain about but certainly not butter smooth like the Polo.

2011 Polo Punto Prices Mumbai

Conclusion - Volkswagen offers the Polo in 7 variants, across three engine options. Fiat offers three engine options too but across ten variants. Both these cars appeal to a different class of buyers, but ultimately, it comes to whether you think from the  heart or the head. The Polo would appeal to those who want a no nonsense hatchback which would return very good mileage, never break down and offer excellent quality. Servicing a Volkswagen is much more expensive than a Fiat, but you know the dealership will do a better job than what Tata Motors would, as Fiat cars are like step siblings in a Tata workshop.

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However, if your the kind of person who thinks from his heart, than the Grande Punto is for you. The Punto is slightly cheaper to buy, much cheaper to service and almost equally cheap to run (the diesel). It also offers you more for what you pay and turns heads where ever it goes. Simply for this reason, if we had to chose between the two cars, it would be the Fiat Grande Punto that would win our vote every single time. Its sad but a car of this potential does not do numbers it should and hopefully once Fiat sorts out the chink in it’s armour, the Punto has what it takes to be a best seller, it’s done it internationally and there is no reason it shouldn’t in India.

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  • raj

    i own a punto diesel emotion pack and am extremely happy with the car, just hope service experience was better. good proffesional comparo. i think the polo servicing is expensive and we don yet know long term vw costs. hope fiat splits with tata and gets new good models in india

    • vijay

      Very rightly said but once Fiat breaks up they have to start from scratch because they have nothing of their own.

    • Aniket

      I too own a Punto and I am very happy with the after sales services. i.e. Fortune Cars Nerul.
      both my Punto services were very cheap and very well done. Also service is reqd. once in a year which is too good.

      • vijay

        Fiat cars are cheap to service and live with. Dare I say even cheaper than Maruti. My Swift costs Rupees 8000 to service.

        Volkswagen service is loot. They don’t even offer free services!

  • kedar

    yeah thanks Fas for this review. Nice Revew

  • Neil

    Nice Review Fas. I own a 1.2 Punto Emotion and no complains what so ever. It lacks when it comes to accelaration. However i am happy with the super suspensions and handling.

    • fas

      Neil, Thanks buddy. What mileage are you getting?

      • kedar

        FAS I also owned Punto 1.2 Emotion & now I sold out. I was getting 14-15kmpl in city and on highway I got 19.2 kmpl at the max.

        • fas

          Kedar, that is amazing mileage and people say Fiat cars are low of fuel efficiency!

          • ninu

            Fas, the body of all FIAT cars ( European Cars) is much heavy in comparison of Japanese & Korean Trash so in order to pull the car their engines are made for providing more torque than the bhp. This is one of the reason of low milage of FIAT cars. But if you drive any FIAt car on highway it will give more average than these tin cans due to stressfree nature of FIAT engines or you can say European engines. Fit any FIAT engine in these tin cans and the will become ROCKET. Am i right FAS?

          • fas

            Yes Ninu, Fiat cars are always heavier and that does take a toll on mileage.

  • saurab

    The Polo is a handsome looking car but trust me, infront of the Punto I can’t even see the Polo around.

  • Arvind

    very well written review and in agreement with everything said. I own punto 90 hp and the ownership has been hasslefree so far, great ride and suspension. I did test drive Polo but it looks more like a cheap copy of punto (externally), Check the 4th pic from top to see it yourself.

  • vivek

    hi,

    Nice balanced article, over a good piece .

  • Venkatesh

    Fas,
    I didn’t read the whole review still but i have a doubt. do u feel that Punto’s A pillars are too thick?? Also i hate its clutch.

    • fas

      Venkatesh, yes slightly thick due to the quarter glass. The clutch is all about getting used to.

  • ramesh

    Very good comparo. excellent pictures. Does justice to both the cars, which are the best hatchback money can buy as of today!! I feel the Polo is an excellent car but the interiors are cramped. The room in the drivers seat is pathetic, not for a 6 footer and with the steering to the highest position and the seat pushed all the way back still the foot would hit the steering, the left foot ofcourse when you get off the clutch.

    Further more when you try to rest your left leg after lifting off the clutch, you have no place to keep it on the left of the clutch due to the cramped footwell and I thought Germans were tall!

    The Fiat on the other side, well its an Italian master piece. Mona Lisa would be proud to own one!

  • ThisPointer

    As far as servicing goes, let me tell you that Volkswagen has a service interval of 1 year (or 15000km – whichever is earlier). It’s true that they don’t offer “free services” but they at least don’t loot their customers every 3-6 months on the pretext of free services (cuz of the other costs involved – most of the times.)
    My first service which was done last month cost me ~Rs. 4,500/- Which is a fair cost considering that it’s once in a year. Most other cars are supposed to get serviced every 6 months. I dont know what the service interval is for the Punto but just wanted to be clear on one point here – servicing a Polo is not an expensive affair!
    As far as the test goes, i thoroughly tested a Punto & the Polo before settling for the Polo. Polo’s handling is simply outstanding.. it feels like you are on rails.
    For me it was a clear choice. having said that, the Punto is pretty good as well. For me, the Polo gets a 4 on 5 and the Punto gets a 3.5 on 5.

    • kedar

      I am owner of Punto. Punto also has service interval of 15000kms & Puntos handling is far better than Polo. Polo has truck like noise from the engine as it has 3 pot motor which is of old technology.

      Polos back is not at all comfortable. 3 adults cant be seated on Polos back seat. Compare Polo & Punto features, price, engine specs, dimension & you will get to know the difference between these 2 cars.

      Bet me Polo does not have temperature gauge a basic need of car. They dont Automatic Climate Control, USB Steering mounted controls even on TOPEND model.

      For me Punto 4.5/5 & Polo 2.5/5 looking at gadgets offered in these 2 car against the price.

  • ThisPointer

    ^^ Funny how fanboys are biased.. So you buy a car only for the gadgets offered? And btw the 3 pot engine is no way of “inferior technology”.
    Saying that a Polo is a 2.5 to a Punto’s 4.5 is ridiculous. Have a clear mind and think what you are saying..
    Nonetheless, to each his own.. :)

    • ThatPointer

      and that doesn’t make you fanboy of polo? Polo doesn’t stand ground in front of Punto and that’s evident not on gadget but on performance, no wonder it got guys praising it all across and the only Company to have a fan following so strong, why doesn;t that happen with your polo or others?

    • Ravi

      A 3 pot is infact inferior to a 4 pot NVH wise. That comes not from thinking but facts

  • kedar

    ThatPointer I am giving more points to Punto than Polo. You misconcluded the things from my post.

  • parinay

    the punto and polo both are stupid cars, too expensive and dont offer much, punto quality is bad and polo space is bad….

    • Vikram

      So which is the “intelligent ” car?

    • kedar

      Parinay which in your opinion is a good car.

      Can you please explain what do you mean by bad quality of Punto.

      Dont talk rubbish without any proof. Always provide justification for your reply/comment.

      • parinay

        Vikram, the intelligent car is the Jazz, which now has a massive price cut too making it the best option for petrol :)

      • parinay

        Ok here is the justification. the quality of the interiors of the punto are really poor. there are so many panel gaps. if u look at the paint quality outside its stunning but the opposite on the dashboard, y this discrepancy? why cant fiat maintain one quality through out the car?

  • neeraj

    sir plse compare between swift & indica vista witch is the better car

  • adi

    and I would choose the Swift over both of these, coz its betters!!

  • shreyas

    both cars are aweoms,the polo makes sense but the punto is more desirable

  • Gibson

    Hi all,
    i bought the fiat Grandé punto 90 hp after so much of research and contemplation, i test drove the polo and the i 20 , prior to getting the punto i had a hyundai getz and it was a good car, but the punto is my most cherished possession. It is absolutely worth every penny for the driving pleasure and drop dead looks it offers . I dont think any car in its segment offers so much at its price point . I originally had booked the new suzuki swift zdi but i had cancelled it and i have never regretted it ever since. It has its share of woes in the after sales service area but i have not faced any issue of date . . As a matter of fact the sales person who sold me the car takes care of every need i have . He helped me get all the accessories i needed in time ,like the window shades ,chrome exhaust tip ,mats,door sills etc .. And so far i have driven 2000 km in my new beauty and i just look for excuses to keep driving . . It is real hard to keep my hands off her. I am not a fanboy n i genuinely have no bias towards any manufacturer . I work in the automobile industry with a tier 1 supplier and from what i have seen fitted on the fiat all the essential parts are of premium suppliers . . For instance the cooling module is from Behr , the oil coolers are from my company Modine, which is a leader in thermal systems n it comes from our facility in italy . . So i can assuredly tell the mechanicals used are of a higher grade than the tata’S who are more bent on saving costs n quality takes a back seat. But here in the punto the interior plastic quality is not great compared to other cars in the segment but they have substantially improved their quality and it shows in my 90 hp . My guess is they have stricter quality controls in place wit their local suppliers now. That said i would recommend this beauty to any serious motoring enthusiast. i already have three of my friends and colleagues buy the punto in the 75 hp guise . And they like me cant seem to keep their hands off on their Punto’s as well . . Which seems like a common symptom among many of the proud fiat owners . .
    Regards
    happy motoring
    Gibson

    • faisal

      Gibson, glad to know you are enjoying your Fiat experience. Most Fiat fans can’t leave Fiat inspite of the blunders they do, after the own a Fiat.

  • Gibson

    Hi Faisal,

    Yes you are right, even if it has its little blunders.. you simply can’t have enough of the overall experience of owning and driving a FIAT .. Is it possible to register on this site .. and become a member ..if yes how do i do it? your assistance in this regard is greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • faisal

      Gibson, we are not accepting registrations yet. This will start next month. Will keep you posted :-)

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/cars/fiat-grande-punto/volkswagen-polo-d-vs-fiat-grande-punto-90hp/ preetham

        friends earlier i had planned to buying a new car but to chose one among the best and i ended up with three cars i.e fiat grande punto 1.4 fire petrol emotion pack,volkswagen polo and again fiat grande punto 90bhp diesel.which will all of you would opt me . my monthly usage would be only 50 to 60 kms…..

        kindly advice
        waiting for all your suggestions.

        • faisal

          Preetham, is that 50-60 kms a month? Then opt for petrol.

  • http://www.motorbeam.com/cars/fiat-grande-punto/volkswagen-polo-d-vs-fiat-grande-punto-90hp/ preetham

    friends earlier i had planned to buying a new car but to chose one among the best and i ended up with three cars i.e fiat grande punto 1.4 fire petrol emotion pack,volkswagen polo and again fiat grande punto 90bhp diesel.which will all of you would opt me . my monthly usage would be only 50 to 60 kms…..

    kindly advice
    waiting for all your suggestions.

  • kedar

    Go 1.4 Petrol Punto Emotion for super silent and powerful engine.

  • Gibson

    Hi Preetham,

    I own a 90 HP Punto and have done 15000 km in it in the last six months and its an absolute joy. Go for a punto and you would love it. I am so in love with my tuscan wine beauty .. A couple of my friends have gone for the punto 2012 as well and they seem to be going through the same issue of not being able to get their hands off it. unparalleled driving pleasure and its a beauty you cant get your eyes off

    • Faisal

      Gibson, what mileage are you getting?

  • Gibson

    HI Fas

    Currently I am getting 15 ~16 in the city ,, if there is heavy traffic then it dips again to 13~14. on the highways at steady 100 it gives 20 , measured it twice .. punto 90 HP is better suited in handling the heavier body and hence better efficiency

    • Faisal

      Gibson, that is good mileage indeed. 100% AC?

  • gibson

    hi fas.. yes the mileage figures are with aircon on all the time ..i keep the temp at 24..the punto 90 is the complete package

    • Faisal

      Gibson, that is really very good mileage. Congratulations.

  • Gibson

    Hi FAS,

    Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that i bought this car despite a lot of ppl warning me about FIAT and TATA miserable reputation in service and after sales. But I just had to have faith and so far amazing mileage and great performance and a fairly decent customer service experience . A very well built product.. I am crossing 19,000 and its been 7 months of ownership and so far soooooo good.

    • Faisal

      Gibson, that is some running there. 19000 kms in 7 months? Do you drive inter state every week ;-)

  • Jatin

    Hi…. I m planning to buy a car within a month and stuck between punto grande 1.3 (dynamic) & polo 1.2 deisel (comfortline). In some reviews i have read that punto’s engine is a bit sluggish and doesn’t have a quick response. Is that true? Please, help me with this. Which car i should go for?

  • Passion

    Hi all,
    This was written as a reply to one of our friends who commented on the POLO’s service costs. I am pasting it here again. Thanks

    Dear Thepointer,
    I own a POLO which ran 38000 Kms and and punto which covered 68000Kms (punto was bought as a second hand car when I bought it, it has covered 47000). Now I have used the punto almost more than POLO as I simply love it when I go for longer trips. I was simply mpressed with my friends Punto thats why when i needed a second car, I went for Punto. I was initially of the opinion as yours as I selected Polo or punto when I bought new. The reality is POLO is 100% expensive to maintain than a Punto (the service costs are almost double). Parts are 3-4 times expensive. I would still rate Punto’s service stations better than POLO, as VW dealers doesnt give much care to POLO owners as they make more money from their costly cars.

    Regarding the car, interiors of POLO gives a pleasant feeling with the beige color and the quality feel plastics and I think the comparison ends there. The disadvantages I see with POLO compared to PUnto are more. 1. POLO sits lower. 2. There is no space at all in the rear bench. 3. Puntos plastics looks bad and nothing to about it but I think it lasts longer than POLO as already POLO started rattling , my punto is smoother and rattle free than my POLO. I have no idea about how the previous owner of punto used it. However, I maintained POLO like a child. 4. High speed ability is better in punto (here again 68000 shocks of punto flairs better than 38K polo’s. Ride is almost perfect in both. 5. Engine vibrations and sound is more in POLO than Punto. Rubber Quality (beedings and all) is anyday better in POLO. Also Plastics lock in Polo (storage lock-i dont how it is called) far better than punto;s. AC is very effective in both, I felt engine sound increses in POLO when ac is on. Fan Sound is irritating in punto. I find interiors of POLO is difficult to maintain because of the beige color. Punto scrapes its underbody everywhere (have to take lot of care- This I would say is the only disadvantage with punto). POLO with full load again can under scrape. Definitly I would say Punto is altogether a better car than POLO anyday. Again if I am, given a choice between POLO and PUnto when I go for a new car next time with closed eyes I will go for a PUNTO.

    • Saravanan

      Hi all,
      First of all i thank passion, for giving excelent review, my opinion for car & byke is for pure driving pleasure and its about handing and keeping it under controling . Fiat – follow it. Good looking luxurious interiors is required for home, hope every one understand this. And punto does its job and knows its role and responsibility

      Today i took a visit to vw showroom abra motors chennai, they know only abt polo exterior and interiors looks. O knowledge on engine performance / engine construction/ technical details. Where as Concorde motors – gives me the technical details clearly than tata.

      I am with fiat always – the term “max mobility” fits fiat not vw
      And i am booking punto this jan 2013.

  • aditya

    I too own a fiat punto 1.2 ltr petrol engine. and i m very happy with this car. its ride quality and road grip is fantastic. i suggest everyone that if want to a hatchback then go for fiat punto petrol or diesel whatever u prefer.

    ITALIANS -THE BEST

  • anil Reddy

    tough punto diesel hatchback seems to be better than tin Korean,jap cars..

    • T R Sambasivan

      That’s true.

  • Sambasivan T R

    Hello Freinds.

    After some research in all small cars I decided for Fiat Punto Dynamic Diesel and bought it in Feb 2013 from RDC motors in chennai. I had finished nearly 9500 kms till now and I am verymuch happy about my car for deciding over it Punto Diesel. When I got delivered some of my freinds were not at all happy about my choice. But as per my experience with this car this is really a trouble free car with good stability in driving in High Ways as I travelled to Mysore 4 times and had a very plesant driving even during heavy rains and in all circumstances with effective breaking and steering controls which gives me of good confidence in Driving.
    Hence I would recommend to go for Fiat cars and have a pleasant driving. Dont bother about the interiors etc. It has a good susspention and good grip in driving and smooth Engine.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Good choice buddy, what mileage are you getting?

      • t r sambasivan

        Around 13 to 15 in city driving and around minimum 18 in Highway. I may not be very exact, but gives a very decent mileage.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          And how is the service?

          • T R Sambasivan

            I have done only one free service with the first six month or 6000 kms service and going fine.

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            That’s nice. So what’s the best thing you like about your car?

  • T R Sambasivan

    Hello Faisal.

    The Best thing What I experienced was Good Steering control and effective Breaking, Good Susspension smooth Gear shift, and totally a good car with Road Grip,suitable for City drive and Highways. Also a better boot. They could improve the reverse lighting and some sundry things.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      What about the quality of parts?

  • T R Sambasivan

    I think the quality of parts are reasonably good. As I am not an expert, I would say this is better in general, may be can improve even better in Interiors etc.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes compared to competition there is huge scope of improvement.

  • jam

    Hi Guys, Like so many others even I am damn too confused between Polo and Punto. Polo is my dream car, but I’m scared of the maintenance cost. Test drove Punto today, unfortunately the interiors did not please me at all. I felt the Indica Vista has better interiors. Also I heard the new version of Punto like Linea with improved interiors and a facelift is expected anytime soon. Should I go for Polo or close my eyes and buy a Punto. Kindly advise. Thank you

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Wait for sometime. Both Punto and Polo to get updates.

      • jam

        A/w Fas, a dealer in Bangalore accepted to offer Punto emotion diesel 76bhp for 7.5 Lac. I’m assuming its because the facelift version I coming up. Would it make sense to buy an existing one for discounted price or wait. Although I personally don’t like the dash in new linea too. Hope I don’t have to wait too long as I have sold my Alto already. ;)

        I like Punto for its build quality and assuming the maintenance is much cheaper than Polo.

        Thank you for quick response. You’re doing an amazing job.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          I feel waiting for the facelift is a good idea but the deal you are getting is too tempting too.

  • Joy Ismail

    after this article %BLOG_TITLE%.www.google.com