Ford Escape

Now you've done it, America. A new study by IHS Automotive has revealed that American motorists are turning to the high-riding style of crossovers and sport utility vehicles more than they are traditional sedans. Through May of 2014, IHS says that SUVs and CUVs account for 36.5 percent of new vehicle registrations. Sedans, meanwhile, cover just 35.4 percent. That represents a flip-flop from the same period five years ago, when the trusty four-door occupied 36.3 percent of registrations to the SUV/CUV category's 31.4 percent.

"It's not that sedans have become unpopular," Tom Libby, an analyst at IHS, told Bloomberg. "It's just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There's more space for seating. It's easy to see why they've taken off in popularity."

We're guessing when Libby says "better fuel economy," he's referring to the current efficiency of new CUVs – models like the Ford Escape shown above – compared to past models, not necessarily sedans. Also, we'd be quite curious to see the breakdown in registration percentages if the CUV and SUV were separated.

Our issue with the SUV/CUV split aside, we'll admit that these results aren't all that surprising. Nowadays, you aren't a competitive automaker if your sedan line isn't supplemented with a high-riding equivalent, complete with optional all-wheel drive and off-road looks. Still, due to gravity and their often higher curb weights, CUVs tend to be no match for normal sedans when it comes to driving dynamics, and for that reason, we'll chalk this one up as a disappointing – if predictable –trend.
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