Another stand-out difference? The XT5’s cabin. The design is on another level for elegant simplicity, complete with a centre console stack that has, like, six buttons on it instead of the usual array of consoles, panels, knobs and dials found in comparable Lexus, Mercedes and BMW models. The shifter is a small joystick, and there’s no console around it. The cupholders have aluminum inserts, and are covered by a lid, itself trimmed in stitched leather too.

So the look is clean. Uncluttered. Tidy. Intensely detailed, but blessedly simple. And with so few controls and consoles chewing up visual scenery, the entire forward dash is a canvas for designers to showcase not the tech and the gadgets, but the richness and abundance of the materials themselves. Isn’t that what luxury is all about?

The tester’s dashboard was fully encased in leather and suede, with some aluminum and carbon-fibre-esque accents adding depth. There isn’t a single crooked stitch or crinkle in the velvety leatherwork. Even the perforation and embossing in the seats invite lengthy inspection. And the XT5 smells like a fine furniture store, and so will you, for an hour after you get out. The cabin is probably the XT5’s most compelling quality.

Functionally, the cargo space is relatively wide and deep, accessed by a motorized tailgate, and flexibly partitioned by a handy sliding-rail divider to keep gear in place. Seatbacks fold full-flat when needed. Rear seat headroom proved barely adequate for those of average height, thanks to the tester’s panoramic sunroof. Up front, as with the rear, entry is a simple sideways slide-and-plop.

Also, there are fancies. Lots of them. Usual suspects aside, the XT5 uses a handful of exclusive technologies that surprise and delight. There’s the rearview camera mirror, replacing the traditional mirror with a high-resolution display. Drivers get a much wider viewing angle out the rear, without obstructions caused by rear seat headrests or window pillars, and a clearer image in the dark. Once trusted, the system provides improved situational awareness to the rear. Image quality is fantastic, and after dark, special software fine-tunes the image to bring out details, even farther away.

Note: the tester’s camera mirror system wasn’t working initially, though a quick and painless warranty check-in at a local Cadillac dealer fixed the problem: a loose coaxial cable.

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