Today's cars are better in many ways but they don't have bumpers you can pull a trailer with.
The econobox type cars I use for commuting now can't pull trailers at all.
If I was an American I might still have a mortgage because it would have made relatively more sense to invest money other ways than it would to pay down my mortgage.
As a Canadian paying down my mortgage had a relatively low ROI but it was risk free and I wasn't giving up any tax exemptions. Canada doesn't allow people to walk away from mortgages and only lose the house either, so that part of the risk equation is different.