The 2019 Cadillac XT4 got mixed reactions at its debut during the 2018 New York Auto Show, but one thing everyone seemed to agree on is how cool the lighting was.

The new crossover from GM's luxury brand has been accused of being somewhat generic in design, but everyone loved the unique lighting signature in the front and back, and that's the result of a lot of collaboration between the project's designers and engineers, Therese Pinazzo, the XT4's exterior design manager, told us in an interview.

"The lighting is always the most important thing in a Cadillac," she said, "And in this one, the headlamps and taillamps were kind of tough." She says intricate lighting is difficult to achieve because of budget restraints, but Cadillac managed to make it look high-end all while keeping costs in check.

In the new XT4, the L-shaped taillamp on the C-pillar connects perfectly to the taillamp on the tailgate so it looks like one continuous piece. It's also impressive because there's not much of a gap between the two pieces, which is not easy to achieve.

"It is more expensive and we needed to keep the cost of the vehicle reasonable, so it's something we had to fight for," Pinazzo said.

It's the same story with the headlights, which are made of two LED strips. The bottom of the headlamp that's mostly vertical also acts as the turn signal. "This was a more expensive way to execute it but we thought it was extremely important," Pinazzo said, adding that she's very proud of how the XT4's entire lighting package turned out.

There's also an interesting serrated detail in the headlight (seen below) that has a functional purpose. It looks cool, but it's actually there to meet safety regulations that prevent people from getting blinded by the headlights from some angles. Pinazzo said the design and engineering teams weren't even aware that it was needed until very late in the process. "It was sort of a panic moment," she said.

this article first appeared on AutoGuide