Its 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines were also found in the Volkswagen Polo and Ibiza, as was the 1.9 TDI.
Though based on the Polo and Ibiza, its extended rear overhang meant its length was close to a Golf but still smaller than the Jetta.
It was considerably cheaper than saloon versions of small family cars like the Ford Escort, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 306 and Renault Mégane and its boot was about the size, though it failed to match the interior space due to its shorter wheelbase.
SEAT homologated a World Rally Car version of the Córdoba 16v for competition in the FIA World Rally Championship and other international rallies. 1994 World Drivers' Champion Didier Auriol, of France, and Toni Gardemeister and Harri Rovanpera, both of Finland, were among those to pilot the factory cars. Debuting at the 1998 Rally Finland with Rovanpera, and with podiums achieved at the 1999 Rally New Zealand (Gardemeister), the 1999 Rally of Great Britain (Rovanpera) as well as the 2000 Safari Rally (Auriol), the works programme concluded at the end of the 2000 season.
The contemporary Volkswagen Polo Classic (saloon) and Variant (estate) were in fact restyled versions of the Córdoba, and not based on the Polo Classic/Volkswagen Polo hatchback.
FAW-Volkswagen, VW's Chinese subsidiary assembled and sold the Mk1 Córdoba under the Citi-Golf name in 1996.
The Citi-Golf had the Córdoba rear and front design not the European / South American versions which helped distinguish the Córdoba from the Polo Classic/Derby models. In Mexico it was rebadged as the Volkswagen Derby. In 1995 it was imported from Spain, but the 1996 model was assembled in the Volkswagen de México assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico. In 1998 the Spanish made Polo Classic/Volkswagen Polo Classic was introduced in Mexico as the new Volkswagen Derby.
The Córdoba SX was a two-door coupé version of the Córdoba. It came in four variants. A 1.6 100bhp (70kW), 1.9TD, 2.0 8V (Cupra) which has the same engine as the Córdoba GTi and a 2.0 16v. The 16v 150bhp (112kW) ABF engine is identical to the engine found in the Mk3 Golf GTi. The 16v SX also came with 16" multispoke alloys, 280mm (11in) front discs, ABS, traction control and air conditioning as standard. The model was slightly revised in 1998 with a new rear splitter which required the exhaust to be hidden, a revised front lower grill and splitter and leather interior became standard.