The Ibiza Mk1 (codenamed 021A) was based on the SEAT Ronda, in turn derived from the Fiat Ritmo, with a powertrain which had been developed in collaboration with Porsche. This was the first SEAT which did not share any external body panels with any Fiat model, having been designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This version, while it established the now classic Ibiza shape, was advertised as having "Italian styling and German engines".
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.