Matchmaker: Family outgrows full-size SUV

An entrepreneur and her family need to replace their Audi Q7 with something that doesn’t incite a yawn, with a vehicle that has space to spare

  • Shannon Passero


Shannon Passero, 43, is a Canadian designer and entrepreneur who lives in St. Catharines with her husband, Michael, and two young children, aged 2 and 4. She is in the market to replace her 2014 Audi Q7 with a more spacious vehicle that will better accommodate her family and their two 80-pound dogs.


Shannon drops her children off at school each morning and then drives 10 minutes to her retail store — The Post Office — and adjacent design studio in the town of Thorold. Every weekend in the winter the family drives up to their cottage in Clarksburg to go skiing. Shannon also travels frequently for work and needs room for three large suitcases, ideally without having to take her two car seats out of the vehicle. She and her staff often do pop-up shops as well and use the Audi to transport loads of clothing.


Shannon says she is environmentally conscious (she had a Lexus RX 400h Hybrid when it first came out) but now that she needs a much larger vehicle, she’s worried she’ll have to settle for something that will leave a much bigger carbon footprint. Her perfect scenario would be an electric car that’s big enough to hold a stroller, ski equipment, her dogs and children, but she knows this may not be realistic. Shannon isn’t a fan of minivans but from a functionality perspective, she knows it would be practical. Right now when Shannon sits in the back seat of her Audi between her two children’s car seats, she has to forgo her cupholder which is in the middle seat, and this is a major concern as a coffee-loving sleep-deprived mother!

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Shannon definitely wants leather seats for the child-friendly cleanliness factor as well as heated seats, sunroof and Bluetooth as she often works on the road. A built-in navigation system and backup camera are also a must and the more cup holders, the better.


While Shannon is willing to spend between $70-$100K, she really doesn’t want to go that high unless she has to, preferring something in the $50K range if it’s possible for her wish list.

Circle Motors’ Mike Matthews responds:

“It’s hard to replace the Audi Q7 with something that doesn’t incite a yawn. But growing families and growing businesses need serious vehicles. Get over needing an SUV. Let your neighbour buy into a brilliant marketing plan. Instead, quietly go on about your business using the best tool for the job. Once transferring all their necessary cargo into a 2016 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD van, Shannon and family will continually be in awe of how well a minivan performs tasks for them. Conceding to having the optional AWD is a choice made to ensure safe trips up, down, and around the Escarpment on their way to the Beaver Valley. Sure, the van will use more fuel than her old hybrid, but with a price of $58,300 she can use the remainder of her budget to find more treasures for her store…..and fill the van up delivering them.”

Looking for advice picking your next car? Email Jackie Burns:


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