2018 VW Tiguan SEL Premium

The Tiguan SEL Premium is the top of the line offer in the small SUV lineup from VW. Tiguan was redesigned for 2018 upgrading the platform to the same one used on the Golf. The SEL Premium comes well equipped with all of the high tech offered by VW including a full suite of driver aids not offered last year.

This model was equipped with the impractical third row seating that is suitable only for small children who don’t need car seats.  The larger size for 2018 allows for more leg room making the Tiguan much more comfortable for second row seat passengers.

2018 VW Tiguan SEL interior


The driving experience with the Tiguan is never going to be mistaken for a European performance car but it does do a good job as a commuter for those in the need of extra cargo room or for shuttling family around . Seat comfort is acceptable if not exceptional on the leather trim of the SEL Premium. The driver’s seat is heated and has 10 way power adjustments. The right side seat is also heated, but lacks the power controls. Interior noise level seemed good, until it started raining and then the cabin sounded like a tin roofed shack.

On the 600 mile round trip to the State Fair of Texas the car performed well even in the intermittent heavy rains. Road feel and control were very good with no wandering or high speed oversteer. Acceleration from higher speeds was decent allowing me to pass the right lane traffic with no fear.

A Fender 9 speaker stereo is included in the infotainment system that is also upgraded for 2018 with a good navigation system featuring clear maps, Sirius XM radio and both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Controls are actual buttons on each side of the system that allow quick and easy access to functions. One shortcoming I found was the failure of the system to pause the media when the sound was muted for back up camera operation.

Our Tiguan SEL came with the only engine and transmission option available, a turbo charged 4 cylinder engine and 8 speed gear box. Acceleration from a stop was a bit lagging and particularly noticeable with the auto start stop system on. At least there is an override for that intrusive feature. I found that the Tiguan often shifted quickly under light acceleration leaving it struggling for power unless I pushed more throttle. The 4-Motion all wheel drive gave a feeling of security on wet pavement and would handle mild off the asphalt driving. Selectable drive modes and automatic hill decent may add a sense of being able to go places you shouldn’t. The fuel economy after a week of combined driving came to an even 35 mpg.

 Technology is a strong point in the new Tiguan.

New LED headlamps provide good visibility and are greatly enhanced by the low speed cornering lamps that light up the dark and scary shoulders of the road as you turn. Blind spot monitoring, cross traffic, birds eye view, parking assist and collision alert with autonomous braking all add to the safety and confidence of the SUV.

Small touches help make the Tiguan a bit more appealing. The side mirrors fold when the car is locked providing a bit more room to move between cars in perpendicular parking spots. The interior door panels have lighted trim lines and there are also lighted door sill plates. Keyless entry and start is a major plus, as well as is the easy to use if a bit slow to respond touchless rear hatch access.

Overall the Tiguan SEL Premium is a decent mid-sized SUV, offering good 2 row seating and storage space, acceptable economy and state of the art technology.

Learn more about the Tiguan here