An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

GMC calls their new Acadia the “re-imagined, right sized” intermediate crossover for the Canadian marketplace.

  • GMC Acadia 2017


    • What’s Best: Attractive styling and surprisingly good handling for a vehicle of this size. Interior and connectivity are among the best in the industry.
    • What’s Worst: As competent as it is, the Acadia gets somehow lost in the plethora of mid-size CUV/SUVs in the market right now.
    • What’s Interesting: Hooking up to Apple CarPlay was so simple even I could do it.

LILLOOET, BC: Her name was Margaret “Ma” Murray and for decades she ran a tiny community newspaper out of Lillooet, BC, – a paper with a national presence.

Never shying away from saying what she thought, during the latter part of the last century, whenever the CBC’s As It Happens or CTV TV News wanted a take on an issue from a BC perspective, Ma Murray was often asked for her opinion – and she sure gave it.

To show how loved and respected Ma was, when she died on Sept 25, 1982 at the age of 94, it was the number two item on the CBC National news.

Along the way, she set the standard for what people in the community newspaper business like me prize, as exemplifying integrity and never avoiding an issue.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

I have always wanted to go to the Lillooet News and visit the “shrine,” but time and tide always prevented it, until GMC called with a ride-and-drive press introduction of the all-new 2017 GMC Acadia in Whistler.

GMC calls Acadia the “reimagined, right sized” intermediate crossover for the Canadian marketplace.

It rides on a brand new platform that is more than 700 lb lighter than the 2016 model, and for the first time, offers an all-new inline four-cylinder engine in addition to a V6.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

The 2.5-litre with direct injection and variable valve timing produces 193 hp and 188 lb/ft of torque for a fuel rating of 9.2L/100 km highway for the front-drive version.

The other engine is a 3.6-litre direct injection DOHC V6, which is also new, with 310 hp and 271 lb/ft for 9.3L/100 km highway in front-drive mode.

Both use a six-speed automatic transmission.

Offered in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels, they are available in front- or all-wheel-drive with a choice of two AWD systems.

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The first of which is AWD with disconnect at the front. This main system uses a single clutch with an open differential. The second is the All Terrain package that features an Active Twin Clutch.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

It optimizes traction for a variety of mixed surfaces and boasts a specific All Terrain mode in place of the Off Road mode on the Traction mode selector to enhance hill-climb capability.

With a tow rating of up to 4,000 lb, there is an optional Tow Vision Trailering System, which uses the rear-vision camera to help line up the hitch with a trailer.

Seating is six or seven with twin buckets up front and a third row split/fold bench for three and 60/40 split/fold bench or two captain chairs in the second row. The exception is the All Terrain with seats for five.

All three rows offer USB charger ports.

A rearview camera is standard as are eight airbags with dynamic traction control in addition to a host of available safety features including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking (standard on SLT-2 and Denali), Following Distance Indicator, IntelliBeam Automatic Headlamp High-Beam Control, Rear Park Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Rear Seat Reminder and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

As luck would have it, I found myself between the autowriters and lifestyle wave of writers, which meant I had an Acadia to myself to go where I wanted.

It didn’t take me long to grab the keys to a Denali and head north up the Sea To Sky Highway from Whistler.

ALSO READ: The Great Canadian Road Trip: Day 11 of 20, Sea to Sky Highway, aka 99 N.

The 2017 is slightly small and, of course much lighter, which came in handy as the road to Lillooet which was 124 km of constant twists and turns as it snaked through the canyons between towering peaks.

Between that and driving the same vehicle all the way back to the Vancouver International Airport, I covered more than 400 km and averaged 10.2L/100 km with the V6, despite being off and on the gas most of the time because of the mountains.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

The highlight was dropping into the Lillooet News that is not much larger than a two-car garage complete with two resident dogs, one of which goes to lunch with the receptionist.

I spoke with editor Wendy Fraser who grew up there and still remembers seeing Ma walking to work.

Fraser said Ma brooked no fools but, “would give you the shirt off her back. That was the kind of woman she was.”

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

She pointed me to the museum just down the street where Ma’s office is recreated, including her hat and coat on the clothes rack and typewriter on her desk.

If you want to see what a real journalist is all about, not this mindless blog blather, Lillooet is where you have to go.


On the way back to Vancouver the next day, the drive was perfect in terms of weather and road conditions, with the Denali responsive when I needed it and offered a relaxed pace while I enjoyed Apple CarPlay and its Bose surround sound audio system to the full.

A satisfying drive, a bucket list destination and all in the very competent 2017 GMC Acadia.

It does not get better.

An Acadia pilgrimage to “Ma” Murray

GMC Acadia 2017 

BODY STYLE: Intermediate, 5-/6-/7-seat SUV

DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-/all-wheel-drive, six-speed automatic transmission

ENGINE: 2.5-litre direct injection inline four-cylinder (193 hp, 188 lb/ft); 3.6-litre direct injection V6 (310 hp, 271 lb/ft)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Regular) 2.5-litre FWD, 11.0/9.2/10.2L/100 km city/highway/combined; 2.5-litre AWD, 11.2/9.4/10.4L/100 km; 3.6-litre FWD, 13.0/9.3/11.3L/100 km; 3.6-litre AWD. 13.3/9.5/11.6L/100 km

CARGO CAPACITY: 2,237 litres (79.0 cu ft) behind first row; 1,181 litres (41.7 cu ft) behind second row; 362 litres (12.8 cu ft) behind third row

TOW RATING: Up to 1,814 kg (4,000 lb) properly equipped

PRICE: SLE FWD, $34,995; SLE AWD, $37,995; SLT AWD, $47,295; Denali AWD, $54,995; Denali AWD as tested, $62,245 including $1,700 shipping fee


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