Luca de Meo, the SEAT's president, tried to improve the Spanish brand image on the market and get more attention from customers looking for a more emotional design vehicle. SEAT was the only brand that featured a Latin-inspired design over a German technical platform.
The Ibiza looked like a shrunk SEAT Leon, the compact-segment contender of the Spanish brand from the outside. Its angular headlights, sculptured door-panels, and aggressive look were the main ingredients for the small-segment hatchback. Unlike its predecessors, it was available only as a 5-door version. SEAT dropped the formerly used station-wagons and three-door versions.
Inside, the carmaker succeeded in building a roomier cabin, thanks to the increase in front and rear tracks and the wheelbase. The result was more legroom for the rear passengers, which was more than welcome for a small-class vehicle. Its split-folding rear seats could have expanded the 355 liters (12.5 cu-ft) trunk up to 823 liters (29 cu-ft).
Under the hood, SEAT installed only Euro 6 engines ranged between 65 hp and 150 hp. Depending on the version, the engineers paired them to a five or six-speed manual transmission. For selected versions, a 7-speed automatic (dual-clutch) gearbox was available as an option.