The Peugeot Instinct is like an unhealthy relationship with a girl who thinks you’re going to get married; the pushier she gets, the less you like her. This impression starts when you see the car opened up for display. The front and back doors of the sedan model are in opposition to each other, so they swing open like arms waiting for a hug. It reveals a lounge-like interior that’s highly modular and can be adjusted at will with the rearrangement of a few seats. Like any desperate partner, the Instinct tries a little too hard to please you by radically changing herself. The bad impression is heightened by the language of the marketing copy Peugeot commissioned for this concept model. Phrases like “Freedom to explore new driving sensations” and “truly in harmony with you and your needs” crop up all over the online brochure, like a friend who’s trying to sell you on a blind date.
The Instinct is smarter than that, as it happens. In what will become a theme for this year’s concept cars, this model has some kind of frighteningly sophisticated autonomous-driving AI that’s advertised as being able to interpret the way you drive and adjust the controls accordingly when you’re on autopilot.
Considering how I used to drive, the only adjustment to expect from a prom date with KITT is for the onboard phone to call ahead to the Highway Patrol and maybe the detox center, but apparently, Peugeot means that the car takes corners the way it thinks you’ll like. Anything for attention.