DS has been making some big steps in its bid to take on long-established rivals in the premium car market.

The revised DS 7 – with some exterior and interior improvements – takes the brand even further in the right direction.

Indeed, DS has done a good job of enhancing its mid-size SUV in several areas, with the extra range from the enlarged battery among the plus points.

The mid-ranking E-Tense 225, tested here, is a plug-in hybrid that combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor.

It offers a combined 221bhp and 266lb ft of torque, with a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds and top speed of 140mph.

Performance isn’t blistering, but is swift enough to provide a satisfying drive.

Echo: The DS 7 pictured by the sea on the North Wales Coast The DS 7 pictured by the sea on the North Wales Coast

If your acceleration is progressive, the 7 provides a clean, electric-enhanced response.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox works well in tandem with this powertrain, rarely fumbling for the right ratio.

One of the significant changes is the battery capacity, which has risen from 13.2kWh to 14.2kWh, giving an extra six miles of range.

During my test drive, I found the 7 was good for around 35 miles of electric-only driving, against a claimed range of 43 miles.

If you use the hybrid set-up wisely, the economy figures are rewarding, although not quite in the region of the official 177.9-250.0mpg figure.

The handling is tidy, with sharp turn-in, so you can enjoy and engaging drive on B-roads.

However, the ride quality can be a little unsettled over bumpier surfaces, but settles down nicely on smoother surfaces.

At motorway speeds, the car is refined and relaxing, although there’s a bit more wind noise than you’d ideally want.

In terms of looks, the DS has been given some more dynamic creases and now has a more angular design.

Echo: The sculpted bodywork of the DS 7 is in evidence in this picture The sculpted bodywork of the DS 7 is in evidence in this picture

Meanwhile, the light clusters are slimmer, adding to the contemporary look, while further interest comes from the five vertical light bars on the front corners – known as the ‘light veil’.

At the back, there are also slimmer LED rear lights and a redesigned boot lid.

The ‘DS Automobiles’ lettering, which stretches out between the rear lights, is a subtle and classy touch. The Crossback name – which it was called when it was unveiled in 2017 – has disappeared.

The well-built interior offers high levels of refinement, with a premium ambience throughout. The cabin upgrade includes new materials along with a refreshed instrument panel.

A new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an enhanced 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system offer crisp graphics. The touchscreen is big enough to function well, but is sensibly sized so as not to dominate the cockpit.

Echo: The interior of the DS 7, with an outlook on Colwyn Bay seafront The interior of the DS 7, with an outlook on Colwyn Bay seafront

The driver’s screen provides a choice of layouts, such as 3D navigation and energy flow on plug-in hybrid versions.

The DS7 comes with a comprehensive list of safety items as standard, including a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, cruise control with a speed limiter, Speed Limit Recognition Warning and Driver Attention Warning.

All in all, DS has added further appeal to a vehicle that was already impressive.

DS 7 Performance Line+ E-TENSE 225

ENGINE: 4 cyls in line, 1598cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 8.9sec and top speed of 140mph
ECONOMY: 177.9-250.0mpg and emissions of 26-36g/km
ELECTRIC RANGE: 35-43 miles
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic, front-wheel drive 
PRICE: £48,835