Review: VW Tiguan SEL

VW Tiguan – does it live up to what I wanted?

VW Tiguan
VW Tiguan R-Line, image from VW

For six months I faffed about wondering what car to get next. I had quite a strict criteria!



  1. Large boot for Eddie, but preferably not an estate car
  2. Automatic, DSG
  3. Style – the lines of a car are important and there was a lot coming to market to see
  4. Handling – my Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 was an awesome drive in sport mode – stuck to the road and the 4WD performed well, but sometimes the 4WD wasn’t great for cornering
  5. Suspension – my Cooper S has terrible, if not THE WORST, suspension I’ve ever experienced. From the first week of getting it I hated it. Every time you went over a small bump or (oops) into a pothole, it felt like you were falling into the ground and all your wheels had fallen off, never mind your bottom being thrown about!
  6. Interior style – lots of places to put things, tasteful finish and of course the comfort
  7. Panoramic sunroof – just because I wanted one and it’s extra fresh air for Eddie
  8. Cost – weighing up the cars on the market which fitted my criteria but also offered good value for the brand
  9. Alloys which suit the car – both style and size
  10. Winter comfort e.g. heated seats and heated wing mirrors

Cars I looked at:

  • Audi Q5 Sline
  • Audi A3 Sportback Black Edition (or Sline) Stronic
  • Mercedes GLA 250 AMG
  • Mercedes GLC 250 AMG Line

I dismissed the A3 because the Sportback just wasn’t big enough. I dismissed the GLA because of the same reason. I really loved the GLC but between that and the Q5, you’re only really paying for the badge and you need to spec up on basic models (and at those sort of prices, when you spec the car how you want it, you’re talking £40k plus).

When the new VW Tiguan launched in 2016 I was immediately interested. I’ve driven Polos and Golfs for years, in fact, I had five Polos in my time. VW is a safe brand – both in terms of car safety but also it’s been evolving for years and recently has stepped up its game.

I had previously looked at the new Golf Mk7 GTD and GTI. They were just too small despite having bigger boots than previous models. The new Tiguan however was ticking many boxes before I even did proper research. I was getting excited!

Being a bit of a car fan, for those who don’t know, I’ve been into cars since I could see! My Dad had many fabulous cars including Jaguar E-Type, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Jensen, a Rolls Royce and before he passed, he was keeping his Lister until it became a classic – which it is nowadays.

I love driving. When I first passed my driving test, a couple of weeks after my 17th birthday, all I wanted to do was chauffeur people around so I could drive.

I’ve been to Goodwood Festival of Speed four or five teams, I’ve been to Formula One and most recently I went to Mini Challenge at Donnington – my hubby’s business sponsors two cars.

One of my first big contract wins when I launched Aura in 2008 was to launch the Lotus Evora with a two-week international press drive, right here in Scotland!

I was working alongside my client Bridge of Weir Leather for a few years, who supplied leather to brands such as Aston Martin, Jaguar Landrover, Ford, Volvo and Lincoln. I worked with the brands to help build relationships and ended up with some stunning collaborations and I met some amazing people – head designers for some of the world’s leading cars and the PR teams.

I just love cars and being around them!

I’m pretty sure I should have been a racing driver. Anyway, I digress.

Back to the VW Tiguan. OK, so I made the decision after test drives and research.

I’ll be honest, I loved the Tiguan R-Line, but because it’s 4WD it uses quite a bit more fuel and it was more expensive than an alternative – the equally stylish and well-equipped SEL.

This car is the business. It ticks ALL my boxes. I have a really loving looking car, which performs well, is cost effective (well just now, it’s Diesel, so I imagine when I next change I’ll be buying a hybrid), it’s got every gadget possible and Eddie LOVES the boot!

VW has done a great thing with its tech, integrating apps and having really great audio without upgrading.

The sunroof is amazing – I think I’ll use it all year round. As I have Eddie with me all the time, I’ve always got something open so there is fresh air for him. The sunroof is the perfect solution, as if I open the windows when it rains, my interior gets wet. Not with the sunroof!

The ONLY gripe I have, and it’s with ALL VWs, is the plastic finish to a couple of elements in the car. VW, you can do soooo much better! In particular I refer to the glove box and to the door panel where all the sunglasses and scrapers go. I had to forgive it though – there’s always a compromise and this is small in the grand scheme of things.

So, what do I get for the VW Tiguan SEL 150 BMT DSG?

I opted for the 2WD model. It makes more sense considering my last 4WD was only valuable 1 day a year!



Pano sunroof!

Massive boot and because the back sets are on sliders, it can be made even bigger, plus the boot has two different height levels

I opted for the DSG as I love an automatic but I also like the paddle shifts

It’s so smooth to drive

It has a massaging driver’s seat (I KNOW!!!)

All the heated seats and mirrors etc you need

The app connect is great so is all the tech like SatNav

The settings via the large central screen is amazing – you can customise almost anything, including auto door locking, when you car reacts to certain situations etc

The atmospheric lighting is very cool and adds a touch of glam to night driving

The LED headlights look brilliant – the basic models don’t look anywhere near as good

The silver trim on the exterior looks ‘finished’

My fuel consumption has been excellent, even on shorter drives

I didn’t want the head-up display – was be too distracting (when the system is beamed onto your windscreen)

I love all my info and being to change what I see, on my driver display – it’s also digital so looks much more cool

My car has the lane assist function and tells you when you’re too close to other cars, when it’s safe to overtake and when you’re in cruise control, it maintains the distance between you and the other car, if you’re speed is set faster than the car in front, then automatically takes you back to the speed you want to do, when the car moves out the way (very handy ;o)

I didn’t want cameras and I didn’t want the auto open tailgate – not handy when you’ve got a dog who may run off onto a busy road! The BMW and Mercedes cars we had were terrible for opening the boot when the key was in your pocket!!

I have trays in the back!! Not that I’ll ever use them

My wheels are lovely – chunky to match the size of the car but stylish – they are a dark silver/light grey colour

The grey colour I chose is inoffensive, doesn’t show too much dirt and the metallic paintwork makes it look different in different lights

So there you have it, after researching and choosing, I’m really pleased with the Tiguan.

Thanks for reading my post. If you think others will benefit from my research and review, please share my post.

Hopefully this is the start of more car reviews as I pursue more cars to test out and tell you about.

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