Controlling and using the Ford Escape voice recognition system

The beauty of technology is that it helps make life easier, stress-free, faster, and more reliable. And as the years go by, technology changes and more developments are made to gadgets, machines, and automobiles. Automobiles have come a long way from what they used to be ages ago.

Some years ago, you could not drive and handle a phone at the same time. Safety precautions prevented that. But many thanks to technology, you don’t need to bother about holding a phone because many modern cars have in-built phone systems that, when synced to your phone, can perform the same functions as your mobile device.

Also, some years ago, if you were going on a journey and you had no Google maps or a physical map to guide you, you would have been in a rut. But thanks to technology, many modern cars now have in-built maps that help to guide the way. All these and many more are the wonders of technology in the world we live in today.

Unfortunately, many modern cars have these in-built technological systems; most people don’t know how to operate some of these features. Not many people understand car manuals easily. If you drive a Ford Escape, you are in luck because this article aims to guide you on how to control the voice activation menu in your car.

Although this article is geared towards Ford Escape owners, some parts are still applicable to other car models. You can also find the common problems with Ford Escape.

General guidelines to using the voice recognition system in a Ford Escape

2022 Ford Escape Voice recognition system

If you are the owner of a Ford Escape (2013-2019) model and have problems using the voice activation menu in your car, you may have made some of the errors listed below. If you are also experiencing troubles using the voice activation menu, then you need to adhere to some of the guidelines listed below, as this will help you understand the endless possibilities of this technology in your car.

  1. Speak to the system in a noiseless environment. The system is a computer, and if there is noise, it will be unable to process any commands you are making at the time.

Most times, it depends on the type of noise. If you drive on the highway with your windows down, the voice recognition system will not process your commands. Also, if too many people are trying to make commands simultaneously, it affects the system because it is wired to recognize only one voice to carry out its command. To avoid the voice activation system affected by noise, you can try the following:

  • Ensure that you roll up the car windows. If the car's roof is open, ensure that you close it, especially if you drive at high speed.
  • Ensure that you are the only one speaking when giving commands. Try to quiet down anyone talking at the same time.
  • Reduce the HVAC to a lower setting.
  • Ensure that the center panel vents in your ford escape are not directed towards the voice recognition system.
Find out how to disable auto start/stop in Ford Escape

Back to the guidelines

  1. Do not speak before the beep is heard. If you do this, the system will be unable to recognize that you made any commands. The beep is the prompt for you to speak, as it shows that the voice recognition system is activated and ready to take commands.
  2. If you make a mistake while giving a command or an interruption while giving a command, you can press the talk switch and repeat your command.
  3. You can shorten the prompts if you are an advanced user of the voice recognition system. To do this, go to settings, select voice, and switch to advanced mode. Or you can press the talk switch and say ‘Interaction mode advanced.’

Guidelines to using voice recognition for the media settings

Ford 2023 Escape Media

The media system in a Ford Escape controls the radio, Bluetooth, audio files, USB, and maybe videos. The first thing to understand is that you have to properly categorize all audio files for the voice recognition system to function optimally for the media settings.

Since you have to arrange the audio files properly, any document that is not an audio format will confuse the voice recognition system. For the radio, the best way to switch stations is to call out the radio frequency to the system, using the ‘point’ in the frequency name. You can also switch to an HD station by calling out the frequency name and putting HD at the end.

If you connect to your phone and the vehicle media doesn't tag the audio files, you can create a playlist. Doing this makes it easier for the system to process and the only available commands using your phone, Bluetooth audio, or the connected device are ‘pause’ and ‘play.’

To switch to another device through Bluetooth audio or a USB connection, ensure that it is properly named. E.g.,’ Sarah’s phone,’ etc. Doing this allows the system to easily interpret the command you give it.

If you are new to using the voice recognition system, you can say the command in full, for example, ‘Play John Legend,’ and the system will check through the connected device and play as it according to the given command. When using the media to play audiobooks or podcasts, ensure that you've connected it to the device you are playing from before giving a command.

Guidelines to using voice recognition for navigations

Guidelines to using ford voice recognition for navigations

If you use your Ford Escape to only shuffle between your home and the office, you can set up a home and office route.  You can activate these commands by saying, ‘Destination home’ and ‘Destination work.’To get a list containing places of interest to you, you can say ‘find’ to the system and mention the category of the place you want to visit.

For example, you can say ‘find pizza shops,’ and it brings up a list of pizza spots around you for your interest.In a v1.x, you need to select your category of interest, followed by the location. But in a v2.x, you only need to select the location of the category you want because the system already has categories in its memory to reduce the stress of you having to do so.

When searching the screen, you see categories listed, and you also see sub-categories to help you decided on your point of interest. So, you don’t have to call out the place's full name when making a command. You can say, for example, ‘Dominos Pizza.’


The change search area or change location or state commands become active once a navigation process like an address search or place of interest search. To find a street or an unknown address, say ‘find the stress address or state,’ and the system automatically searches for the location.

Although you are unsure about the full details of the location you want to be navigated to, you can let the system know by just calling out the street name and city. If the system asks for a particular house number, you can say ‘midpoint’ or ‘I don’t know, and AI will navigate you to the middle of the area you choose.

To change your route while driving, you can say ‘detour’ or ‘reroute.’ Say ‘find previous destinations’ to see your favorite places of interest, and the system will show you a list of places or locations you frequently visit. To mute or un-mute the navigation prompts, say ‘voice guidance on’ or ‘voice guidance off.’

You can say ‘stop route,’ ‘cancel route,’ or ‘clear route’ to stop the navigation guidance. For changing the navigation view, you can say commands like ‘show 3d’, ‘show heading up,’ and ‘zoom in’ or ‘zoom out.’Saying ‘the traffic ahead’ shows the places where traffic is on your route. Saying ‘weather map’ will activate the weather map on your system.

Guidelines to using voice recognition for phone calls

Using the voice recognition system for your phone calls works the same way they do on your phones when connected to Siri or Alexa. In a Ford Escape, they follow the same guidelines, although a few rules differentiate them.

  1. Ensure that you call out the name to the system how you stored it in your phone book. The system works with how you stored the name in your phone book, so mispronouncing the names can confuse the system.
  2. To call someone, say ‘call name (first name, last name or last name, first name).’ This solely depends on how you stored the person's name in your phone. Also, the command depends on the lingo used in your country. Some regions may say ‘ring,’ ‘dial’ in place of ‘call.’

Using unique or local names can pose a problem to the voice recognition system because manufacturers programmed it to identify mostly English names. To bypass this, you can try saving native names in shorter form or using nicknames to get around the voice system.

  1. You can say ‘listen to message' to listen to a message on your system while on the move.’ If you have more than one message, you can say ‘listen to message 2’ and keep going until you want to stop. To reply to a message, say ‘reply to message,’ but this command only works with messages received recently. Replying to a message using the voice recognition system only works on Android devices and not on Apple devices.


The guidelines listed above in this article are steps to general functionalities in a Ford Escape. There are other functionalities, but these are the main ones people have problems with. I have written on other features present in another ford model; the F-150, you can check them out here.

Also, note that some commands are peculiar to a particular region and may not work. For example, in the EU, manufacturers separate the radio frequencies using commas, not points. Although the variations are not much, you should know this in case you have an issue. So, good luck to you as you explore the voice recognition system for more capabilities!

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