It was known for having a rather quirky interior instrument layout, marked by a lack of control stalks. The indicators were operated by a rocker-switch and the headlights by a sliding switch.
In terms of size, it was larger than most superminis like the Ford Fiesta and Fiat Uno, but smaller than any small family car such as the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf. Styling was fairly imaginative and interior space was good, but the Ibiza was let down by suspect build quality, heavy steering and doubtful reliability.
SEAT also produced a saloon model based on the same platform, the SEAT Málaga.
In the UK, sales couldn't hope to compete with Ford, Vauxhall and Rover (or even imported brands like Volkswagen and Fiat), but the car sold well among buyers who were more interested in budget buys from the likes of Hyundai and Škoda. The Ibiza's moderate sales success gave the marque a decent platform to build on as it looked to increase sales throughout the 1990s.
In 1999 the design was bought by Chinese automaker Nanjing and was redeveloped into the Nanjing Yuejin Soyat.
This model (internal type number 6K) was based on VW's A03 platform also used by the Typ 6N Polo (Mk3). Available in three and five-door models, the saloon/coupe variant was known as the Córdoba and the estate was known as the Córdoba Vario.
Mk2 (6k) Facelift 1996-1999
The Ibiza had a small facelift in 1996 which included changing the general aesthetics of the car by adding smoother bumpers and changing the grill and headlight setup. Other than changing the appearance of the car the running gear changed through the addition of the 2.0 16v engine and the demise of the 1.8 16v engine, both engines previously in the Volkswagen Golf Mk3.
Second generation (facelift) (1999-2002)
The Ibiza Mk2 facelift (typ number 6K2 or 6K GP01; sometimes referred to in the UK as the "Mk3") was the second Ibiza to be produced under Volkswagen Group management and used the underpinnings of the revised Polo Mk3 (actually, the underpinnings of the Volkswagen Golf Mk3). It suffered a little from brand identity issues on release. Originally seen as a cheap VW, the launch of the Cupra models and rallying success gave it a much stronger sporty image, which aligned with Volkswagen Group's acquisition of Škoda Auto as a budget brand.