Cadillac XT5 in California, Part A: Before

Track 1 — an admission: For years I complained that SUVs and crossovers are inferior rides because they were neither car nor truck. They were the Crocs of the auto world, sacrificing looks and danceability for comfort.

Problem was, for years I also continually made exceptions. Such-and-such felt pretty good in corners. Put X (as so many are cleverly named for that crossing-over thing) into sport mode and it shrank, offering impressive handling and better feedback from the road. If you’ve read a lot of my reviews (which—let’s be honest, you haven’t) you’d have noticed these exceptions appeared all the time.

So, recently I experience an epiphany: I probably do like SUVs and crossovers. It certainly has been too long since I found zero joy piloting one, making any pat speeches against them moot. Few are much to look at—that hasn’t changed but lots of folks love Crocs—but extra space wisely laid out inside is always welcome provided the motion is balanced.

Track 2 — a confession: For years I’ve gushed openly about the sheer drivability of Cadillac’s performance sedans. The introduction of the CTS in 20012 changed our opinions about Cadillac’s (and America’s) ability to speak German and Japanese.

Then the ATS arrived in 2012 and changed everything. It’s still among my favourite feeling cars behind the wheel. Nimble, muscle and elegant: if Nureyev were a car (he’s not; we checked) he’d be an ATS.

Track 3 — redemption? Given tracks 1 and 2, I’m looking doubly forward to seeing what happens today. By the time this story is posted, I’ll be cornering southern California coastline in the all-new Cadillac XT5 (note the X) the brand’s contribution to the growing number of crossovers in the world, and replacement for the outgoing SR(note the)X.

I was a passenger yesterday in the back of the XT5. There’s heaps of leg-, head-, and shoulder-room and a room-airy feel within the cabin. The 40-20-40 fold-down leather backseats are comfortable and convenient enough to offer more than enough storage room for five passengers to pack for a weekend away. The sunroof lights the interior with a brightness you’d expect of California; the fidelity of the stereo is impeccable; and the ride was pleasantly comfortable without feeling soft— good Goldilocks balance.

But it’s uninterrupted freeway nearly all 60 miles south from LAX to Dana Point on the coast where we spent the night. The route didn’t tax the dynamics of the XT5 and it wasn’t me behind wheel.

Early reports of the XT5 have been positive but I prefer not to be influenced too much ahead of time. (So, yes, I was shocked when Han Solo was recently killed in the Return of the Franchise.) I’d say ‘follow me live on Twitter’ but still haven’t sussed that being-in-two-places-at-once thing and am nervous we’d both end up dead in a ditch. Wear clean underwear anyway—but please no, not Crocs.

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