I have a 2011 Fiesta with 68K miles and I have experienced NO issues at all. The car drives fine and for the price(<$15K) you cant beat it.
Need I remind all of the Fiesta bashers.... this is not a high end $20K+ car. You get what you pay for and for less than $15K, this is a nice car.
The only thing I have done to the car so far with 68K miles is oil changes and one set of tires.
As far as the transmission is concerned, yes Ford has used a manual-automatic transmission and you simply need to get used to it. The jerky transmission that many have complained about is because you dont have a feel for the car. You cant come to a complete stop and then try to give it gas right away.
You need to either ease into the turn and gently accelerate, or come to a complete stop and again gently accelerate or you will get jerked around.
It is a matter of getting the feel of this over time.
I have an automatic transmission.
Gas mileage is incredible.... 36 in normal everyday driving in town and I just got 42 on a recent hwy trip.
The interior fit and finish is nice for a less than $15K car and is as good as a number of $20K+ cars.