I think this is a good response to the mirrorless competition. It's not much bigger than the EOS-M and it retains full functionality of a Rebel including phase-detection AF. Stick a EF 40mm pancake, and you have a small walk-around or street camera or use it as a backup to a larger camera. It won't take up much space in the camera bag.
I think this is true evolution of the Rebel line, not the T5i. It retains the physical controls that we are used to and are more efficient than menus. Canon is probably using this to gage how well the public will accept the smaller form factor for future Rebels. Now the Rebel is positioned better to compete with future micro 4/3rds systems. Why design another line of lenses (EF, EF-S, EF-M)? Play to Canon's strength: its breadth and depth of EF lenses.