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America's Big Car Comeback and the Twilight of Pure Driving

A Kia Sportage SUV at the Paris Motor Show on Oct. 3
A Kia Sportage SUV at the Paris Motor Show on Oct. 3Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Americans are still crazy about cars, a love affair reaffirmed by October sales data released Monday morning, Nov. 3. But what if we no longer care that much about the experience of driving them?

Sure, a vocal minority is still clamoring for enjoyable rides in such vehicles as Porsches, Corvettes, and Ford Motor’s new Mustang. Yet the mainstream American driver seems to have a waning interest in speed, acceleration, and sharp steering. Instead, cargo space often goes at the top of the car shopping list these days, along with safety and size in general. The lure of Costco, in other words, is trumping that of curvy roads.