Few vehicles embody America like the Jeep Wrangler. With roots stretching all the way back to the plucky Jeep that served the Allies in World War II, over the decades it became a symbol of motoring freedom for adventurers literally seeking the road less traveled. As such, it’s rugged and a bit rough around the edges but then again, that’s part of the Jeep experience.
Still, the folks at Sterling Automotive in the UK felt the Wrangler was a bit uncouth in its presentation, so they created something a bit more upscale. The result is the vehicle you see here, called the Sterling Automotive Jeep Wrangler JL Launch Edition.
We’ll cut right to the chase. It costs £52,995. By comparison, a fully-loaded Wrangler in Rubicon Unlimited trim gets close to £50,000, but that delivers a Wrangler with four doors, seating for five, improved off-road capability, usable cargo space in the back, and a plethora of tech for driver and passengers to enjoy.
Gallery: Sterling Automotive Jeep Wrangler Launch Edition
The Sterling Wrangler is a two-door model equipped with a bone-stock, 2.2-litre diesel generating 200 bhp (149 kilowatts). It sends power to the rear through an eight-speed automatic, with four-wheel-drive available when you need it. The stock Wrangler suspension is similarly unchanged, but it does get a set of Davanti Terratoura all-terrain tyres on upgraded 17-inch Pro Comp wheels. You won’t go rock climbing with this setup, but then again, such activity is so uncivilised.
The crux of Sterling’s efforts fall to aesthetic upgrades for the interior and exterior. The Jeep’s traditional vertical grille is replaced with a horizontal grille that Sterling says adds “a sophisticated and definite aesthetic.” Front and rear wheel arches are widened, and a monochromatic treatment is applied to the Wrangler with bumpers, extensions, side mirrors, and those extended wheel arches all finished in body colour.
Moving inside, a plethora of panelled and embossed leather covers all the seats. Front seats are heated and cooled, Alcantara is installed on areas of the dash and door panels, and even the console gear lever is fitted with leather. Sterling branding is everywhere, in case you forgot where this upscale Jeep got such a posh makeover.
This particular Wrangler is indeed listed on the company’s website as being for sale. It’s certainly a swanky take on a machine that ordinarily offers removable carpet and weatherproofed seats so mud can be easily washed out. Is it something that might appeal to certain buyers, or is it a Jeep thing that we wouldn’t understand?