2017 Cadillac XT5

The XT5 is the second Cadillac model to arrive since the brand learned to speak with a New York accent (albeit an affected Soho dialect) and it's a key pillar to the brand's chances at worldwide success. In 2015, the final year of sales for the five-year-old SRX, Cadillac managed to sell almost 100,000 of them around the world – no small feat for a model about to be replaced, and proof of the crossover's relative freshness and its popularity in export markets like China.

Like the SRX that precedes it, the XT5 will be available with either front- or all-wheel drive (a $2,645 option), but that's one of few commonalities with the outgoing model. A new, lighter chassis helps the XT5 shed about 300 pounds, although Cadillac favors high-strength steel for bodywork and leaves aluminum for the engine and interior trim. In line with the revised brand guidelines for naming, SRX evolved into XT5, leaving room for larger and smaller utility vehicles to eventually join the lineup.

That's one way of explaining the evolutionary exterior styling of the XT5, which maintains the wedgy profile of the SRX but grafts on the new corporate face previewed by the CT6 sedan. Boomerang-style taillights bend, as on the ELR and SRX, and a lengthwise character line connects front and back with more grace than before. Most XT5 trim levels share a common front fascia, while the top-level Platinum has a brighter-looking grille and front skid plate. The overall look is that of a more refined SRX, and that's no bad thing for any of that model's fans – or any aficionados of the retired CTS Wagon. In short, you'll know that an XT5 isn't an SRX when you first see one, although the differences are harder to tell when the two are parked side by side.