2017 Ford Fiesta Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle speed control, steering and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

As fewer cars appear on the road due to SUVs and trucks taking over, there’s one that still continues to sell well – the 2017 Ford Fiesta. This Ford is said to have a “Smart Design,” but we can’t find it. We wonder who defines that word “smart” in this equation because a vehicle created by intelligent people wouldn’t leave a faulty powertrain, defective steering and a malfunctioning vehicle speed control system to deal with.

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A car’s powertrain consists of the transmission, engine and everything that causes the vehicle to move. When one part of this system gets out of whack, the entire structure is worthless. That’s why it’s imperative to drive a reliable, dependable vehicle. Unfortunately, numerous complains about the Fiesta powertrain exist.

One Edmunds reviewer wrote, “The challenge with the vehicle was the horrible powertrain; between the engine and the transmission, it couldn’t figure out what it wanted to do. This was especially horrible for a stop-n-go or heavy traffic situations such as one would face in a daily commute, the engine kept revving and the transmission kept changing, it was very indecisive.”

Ford has issued several Service Bulletins related to problems with the powertrain. Some of these include instruction on debris reaching the VCT solenoid, a clunking noise due to a defective A half shaft and trouble getting the Ford to start. They’ve also discussed issues that require throttle body replacement in Service Bulletin #SSM 46266. Overall, it’s clear to see that the Fiesta won’t provide the reliable powertrain most owners need, but by the time most people realize it, it’s simply too late. There aren’t do-overs in car buying.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ford Fiesta Transmission Problems:

TL* The contact owns a 2017 Ford Fiesta. While driving various speeds, the vehicle lost power without warning and was difficult to restart. The vehicle was taken to heritage Ford be diagnosed. The dealer stated that there was evidence of a fault code; however, the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000. The VIN was not available.

The car jerks and shutters when pressing on the gas. The car loses power and will not go over 40-50 miles an hours, which is very dangerous when driving on the interstate. The car is not changing gear properly.

TL* The contact owns a 2017 Ford Fiesta. On several occasions, while driving various speeds, the vehicle jerked abnormally and stalled. The vehicle was taken to vista Ford woodland hills where it was diagnosed that the transmission control module was faulty; however, the manager stated that there was no failure with the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000.


If the car moves and operates as it should, the next vital aspect is the steering. When a driver turns the wheel from right to left, it’s expected that the wheels move in accordance. If they don’t, there are serious issues that might occur.

The NHTSA website reports on a complaint it received. “The contact owned a 2017 Ford Fiesta. While driving 55mph, the vehicle inadvertently drifted to the side of the road. The contact attempted to drive back to the roadway; however, the brake pedal failed to engage when it was depressed and the steering wheel seized without warning. As a result, the vehicle crashed into a tree. The contact stated that only the side air bags deployed. The contact noticed smoke coming through the air vents. The contact was unable to open the doors and had to exit through the passenger window. Upon inspecting the vehicle, the contact noticed that the CVC joint under the vehicle was fractured. The contact sustained back, arm, neck, right knee and right hip injuries as well as cuts on his left arm that required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed and towed.”

On this incident, and any other steering complaints, the automaker chose to remain silent. There’s not one Service Bulletin or recall discussing any issues with faulty steering systems. As far as the brakes go, which also appears to be a problem in this situation, Ford released Service Bulletin #SSM 46132 which only talks about faulty warnings about the brake system. With steering this bad, it’s a wonder we don’t see more vehicles slaloming down the highway.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ford Fiesta Steering Problems:

Turning a curvature on a mountain road steering locked and brakes failed car went over the mountain as a result passengers three were injured and one fatality.

Vehicle Speed Control

Finally, we look at the vehicle speed control on the Fiesta. This is part of the advanced driver systems that should make modern cars safer, but only if they work correctly. Today’s technology has created a world of innovations that make roadways better, but Ford might need to take another look at their setups.

The NHTSA website received a complaint saying, “On July 15, 2019, my son was going around a sharp right corner when the car sped up out of control and crashed into a utility pole head-on. My son was driving on a city street and was going approximately 30 miles per hour. He’s uncertain what caused the sudden acceleration. The car was totaled and my son has a severely broken foot.”

What we’ve come to find with this particular model, is that numerous crashes and injuries are occurring due to the faulty equipment. Still, the company has yet to issue any recalls or raise a red flag that there are problems. It seems the troubles with Ford vehicles are downright dangerous and they haven’t done much to remedy the complaints.

The company prefers to give the silent treatment and hope everything just goes away on its own. It’s the same as when a child covers its eyes thinking you can’t see them anymore, except we still see you Ford, and so do all the unhappy drivers.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ford Fiesta Vehicle Speed Control Problems:

I stopped twice on an intersection and a traffic light and the engine revved up to 3000 to 4000 rpm involuntarily from between 500 and 1000 rpm and I had to step hard on the brake in order not to have the vibrating car move forward. I did not hit the brake and the gas pedal at the same time. After I shifted the car into neutral at the next red light it did not show this behavior again. So it looks like a software glitch in the shifting computer part.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Ford pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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