Ford Bronco G.O.A.T Modes

Ford Bronco G.O.A.T Modes

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

G.O.A.T modes are an innovative off-roading feature that Ford introduced on the 2021 Bronco. The acronym stands for “Goes Over Any Type of Terrain.” It’s a clever name, even if the acronym doesn’t quite work. It references the sure-footed goat, an expert off-roader of the animal kingdom, but it also brings to mind the acronym “Greatest of All Time.”

And the Bronco’s G.O.A.T modes can be pretty great, if you know how to use them. Here’s how to adjust your G.O.A.T mode, what each does, and how to get the most out of this system.

Bright blue Bronco with doors removed is parked out on a beach

What Do G.O.A.T Modes Do?

G.O.A.T modes are designed to give you a few presets for common driving conditions. To that end, they affect things like shifting points, traction control, and throttle sensitivity. They also control things that are more easily observable, like whether or not you can lock your differentials or disconnect your sway bar.

G.O.A.T. modes can also control surprising features like camera modes and whether auto start-stop is running.

G.O.A.T. Modes

Here’s a quick overview of the available G.O.A.T. modes and the ideal scenarios for each. While Normal, ECO, Sport, and Slippery are all good modes for regular roads, the off-road modes aren’t recommended for pavement driving.

Baja, Rock Crawl, and Mud/Ruts all have warnings about taking them out on the highway. Not only will it be a rough ride, but you could end up with binding issues and excessive tire wear.

Some models even have a Tow/Haul mode, which is useful for exactly that scenario.


Perfect for everyday driving. Normal will be the default mode when you start up your Bronco.

Normal keeps most of your 4WD modes and hero buttons available.


Need to save fuel? Try ECO mode. ECO mode tries to deliver improved fuel efficiency. Because of this, a lot of features are disabled. Essentially, this is the perfect mode for city driving. Fewer gas breaks, and no real reason to use a differential lock anyway. Numerous owners have pointed out that on the interstate there’s not a huge difference between ECO and Normal, so pick whichever mode you like best.


Increases throttle pedal response and gives a sportier steering feel. Lower gears are held onto for longer, which means faster acceleration. Sport is a favorite amongst many Bronco owners. Some have even used OBD scanners and software to add Sport to trims that didn’t come with it initially.

Eruption Green Bronco Raptor carves its way up a mountain


If you frequently drive in the rain or snow, then slippery mode is going to be really useful. It defaults to either 4A or 4H and lowers throttle response. Shifting is also changed so it’s optimized for bad weather.


Beach driving is popular with off-roaders and Sand mode is the perfect setting. While you should still air down your tires, the steering adjustments will make it easier to make precise adjustments. When you’re driving under 15 mph, you’ll get a front camera view so you can make sure you’re driving safely.

Lower gears are held onto for longer for better momentum. You’ll also get optimized braking and a bigger engine sound.


Do you like mudding but don’t want to get stuck in a rut? That’s what the mud and ruts mode is for. This drive mode is great for people who like to go mudding, but also for people who just hate being stuck in the mud.

Rock Crawl

Carefully climb up (and down) super rocky areas. This mode locks both differentials, disconnects your stabilizer bar, and activates your trail camera. Because Rock Crawl defaults to 4L, you can’t shift into it while you’re on the go. You also can’t use it at high speeds.


The Baja mode is for driving on loose terrain, like sand. But while “Sand” mode is designed for low-speed, relaxing beach crawls, Baja is designed for high speeds. The optimized suspension accounts for frequent changes in the terrain. Baja may make you think desert, but it’s also great for loose dirt.

G.O.A.T. Mode Defaults

So, there are seven modes that can control everything from your 4WD setting to your sway bar disconnect. Naturally, you probably want to know the default settings for each of these modes. Here’s a more in-depth look at the technical details of each G.O.A.T. mode.

G.O.A.T Mode Controls
ModeIcon4WD ModeTraction ControlFront Diff. LockRear Diff LockThrottle ResponseSteeringSway Bar Disconnect
Normal The Bronco Icon 2H Normal Available below 24 mph when in 4L Available below 24 mph Normal Normal Can be activated in 4H or 4L modes
ECO A leaf icon 2H, 4L is not available Normal Open, cannot be locked Open, can be locked below 24 mph Soft Soft Cannot be activated
Sport Stylized double-s Icon 2H (4A if equipped) Off Not available Available below 24 mph Aggressive Tight Cannot be activated
Slippery Raindrop and snowflake over wavy lines icon 4A or 4H Extra Available below 24 mph Available below 24 mph Soft Soft Cannot be activated
Sand Sandy dunes and cactus icon 4H, 4L selectable Extra Available below 24 mph when in 4L Locked Normal Soft Can be disconnected
Mud/Rut A tree beside wavy land icon 4H, 4L is available Off Available below 24 mph Locked Normal Soft Can be disconnected
Rock Crawling A cluster of rocks icon 4L, no others available Off Available below 24 mph Locked Soft Tight Automatically disconnects
Baja A cactus and race flag icon 4H
4A not selectable
Off Open
Can be locked below 24 mph when in 4L
Can be locked at any speed
Aggressive Tight Can be disconnected in 4H or 4L

How to Select a G.O.A.T. Mode

You can manually adjust your G.O.A.T mode on your 4WD shifter dial. When you turn the dial the G.O.A.T. system will come up on your panel. Each G.O.A.T. mode has an associated graphic and animation. So, for Sand, you’ll get a depiction of sand, for ECO, you’ll get green leaves.

For the rest of your drive, the icon for your G.O.A.T. mode will remain in the upper left corner of your dash cluster.

Dial for selecting goat modes

A brown muddy display shows for mud/rut mode

G.O.A.T. Mode Availability

Before figuring out how to use your G.O.A.T. modes, you should probably know which modes you have. Each Bronco trim has its own lineup of modes. (Almost) every trim will offer Normal, ECO, Slippery, and Sand. Modes like Rock Crawl and Baja are significantly more limiting.

Here’s a breakdown of which G.O.A.T. modes are available with each Bronco trim.

G.O.A.T Modes by Trim
ModeBaseBig BendBlack DiamondOuter BanksBadlandsWildtrakFirst EditionRaptorEverglades
Rock Crawl

G.O.A.T. Mode FAQs

Are G.O.A.T. modes useful?

About as useful as the pre-programmed buttons on your microwave. While you could manually adjust temperature and time, if you cook popcorn a lot, having a popcorn button is great. Likewise, if you rock crawl a lot, having a rock crawl button is great.

But, for them to be useful you need to know what each button does. While some of these modes are unipurpose, others are a little more specific.

Can you change G.O.A.T. modes while driving?

Most G.O.A.T. modes can be swapped between while driving. If you want to go from Normal to ECO and back again at highway speed, go nuts. But modes like Rock Crawl that default to 4L will require you to go into Neutral gear first. So, you can’t randomly swap to Rock Crawl in the middle of the interstate (that makes sense, right?).

Yellow Bronco drives along neighborhood

What about towing?

While you’re towing, you may get a message saying that your Bronco has changed to Normal mode for improved towing performance. While the Raptor has a tow-specific G.O.A.T. mode, no other trim currently has one.

What if you pick a drive mode that’s not available?

If you pick a drive mode that’s not an option, you may get one of a few messages. If you get “Drive Mode Not Available,” or “Drive Mode Selection Reduced Due to System Fault,” you need to pick a different drive mode. If you see a message that says “Drive Mode Preconditions Not Met,” check your 4WD mode, differential locks, and stabilizer bar.

What happens if you try to lock the differential or disconnect the sway bar when in a drive mode?

If you select an action that a drive mode won’t allow you’ll just get an error message. Pick a new drive mode to use that feature.

Can you add G.O.A.T. modes to your Bronco?

Not officially, but yes. Using an OBD Scanner and software a lot of people have been able to successfully unlock Sport mode. It’s not fool-proof though, so think about your mode needs before picking out a trim.

What’s the best G.O.A.T. mode?

The entire point of G.O.A.T. modes is that they’re all perfect for individual situations. The best mode for rock crawling and highway driving isn’t the same, and which you love the most will depend on which you find the most useful.

Do G.O.A.T. Modes Make the Bronco the G.O.A.T?

Drive modes aren’t anything new, but these cover an impressive range of driving situations. Features like the mode-specific camera views are something a lot of off-roaders will find useful.

G.O.A.T. modes are currently available on Ford Broncos and Ford Bronco Sports. While Ford offers terrain modes on vehicles like the F-150, these are distinct.

These terrain-based modes are definitely a major advantage for people who really do plan to drive their Bronco across every type of terrain.

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Source: Bronco Raptor Brings GOAT Modes to Life on Its 12 inch Dash Ford Muscle | 2021 Bronco Owner’s Manual Ford | GOAT Mode Guide Bronco 6G

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.