The Lexus NX delivers all of the luxury and style you would expect from a Lexus, but can you use it to tow? Can you put a hitch on the Lexus NX? We've done the research, and here's what you need to know.
You can put a trailer hitch on the Lexus NX. Towing prep packages and hitches are available for both generations and all model years of the Lexus NX. There are also aftermarket hitches from third parties that are compatible with the Lexus NX.
We'll look more at what your options are for outfitting your Lexus NX with a trailer hitch and answer your questions about Lexus's towing prep packages. We'll also cover what other Lexus vehicles can tow and how they stack up when hauling campers and boats. Read on to get the full story.
How to equip the Lexus NX with a hitch
If you want a tailer hitch for your Lexus NX, your best bet is to opt for the tow package and hitch receiver at the dealership. This is the safest way to get everything covered in your warranty. Also, with the tow package, you'll get more goodies to improve your towing performance, such as a heavy-duty radiator.
You can also get the towing prep package without the hitch receiver when you buy your NX. This will gain you that heavy-duty radiator and engine and transmission coolers for better towing performance. You will then need to buy and install an aftermarket hitch, of which there are several options.
There are 2-inch and 1-1/4-inch hitch receivers available for both generations of the Lexus NX. A 1-1/4-inch receiver is good for accessories like bike racks and cargo carriers. You can see how this 1-1/4-inch hitch receiver from Curt is installed in a first-generation Lexus NX 200t in the video below from etrailer.
If you want to do some proper towing with your Lexus NX, you'll want to install a 2-inch hitch receiver and prepare the wiring for lights and trailer brakes. Curt also produces a 2-inch hitch receiver that is compatible with the Lexus NX.
You can see break down of these hitch options in the video below:
Unless you have extensive experience and all the necessary equipment, it is best to have a professional install your trailer hitch receivers and prepare the trailer wiring.
Can a Lexus SUV pull a travel trailer?
With the exception of the Lexus UX, which is not rated for towing, all Lexus SUVs can tow a camper trailer, as long as you are mindful of the weight. The key is to know the weight of your trailer and the towing capacity of your SUV. Let's look at the towing capacity and an appropriate camper for each Lexus SUV.
The Lexus NX has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs, but the 300H hybrid model maxes out at 1,500 lbs. This is too light for most travel trailers, but recent years have seen the rise of ultra-lightweight campers.
Now you can find great options under 2,000 lbs or even 1,500 lbs, like the Happier Camper, a stylish and functional modular camper trailer that weighs just 1,100 lbs.
The Lexus RX has a little more power, with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. With that extra power, you'll have even more options available to you, such as the iCamp Elite.
Next in the lineup is a sizeable jump to the Lexus GX, which commands 6,000 lbs of towing power. This is more than enough for those ultra-lightweight campers and allows you to pull some more conventional campers too. A great option in this category is the Jayco Jay Feather X213, which has a gross vehicle weight rating of 5,500 lbs.
Lexus's ultimate towing SUV is their LX, boasting a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs. This allows you to pull many of the most popular travel trailers, such as the Airstream Globetrotter, which combines retro aesthetics with modern comforts in 6,300 lbs.
You can learn more about towing a camper with your SUV in our article, "What's the Best SUV for Towing a Travel Trailer?"
Which Lexus can tow a boat?
We've seen that, with the exception of the UX, all of Lexus's SUVs are ready to tow a travel trailer. The same is true of boats. Just like with campers, you have to be mindful of the weight and towing capacity of your specific setup.
Keep in mind that, when towing a boat, you have to consider the weight of your boat's trailer as well as the boat itself. Also, be sure that your trailer is appropriately weight-rated for the weight of your boat.
If you keep things light, you can easily tow a boat even with the NX, which has the lowest towing capacity. For example, this boat trailer from McClain weighs just 150 lbs, and this 14' fishing boat from Lund weighs 295 lbs, for a grand total of just 445 lbs!
You don't have to stay on the light side if you opt for the Lexus LX. You could pull something a bit heavier and sportier. Your setup could include something like the ATX 22 Type-S, which weighs 4,950 lbs, and an appropriate trailer, like the TCL47-23 at 1,320 lbs.
Before hitting the road, be sure to check out our article, "How to Trailer-Tow a Boat." You'll get step-by-step instructions to get you set up and road-ready as well as some great advice to make sure you keep your boat, your vehicle, and yourself safe.
Do you need to break in a Lexus before towing?
When buying a new vehicle, it's essential to break it in. Breaking in your car helps put strain on the engine and components evenly so they will perform better and longer. Towing during the breaking-in process can put excessive strain on your engine.
Lexus recommends not towing with the NX for the first 500 miles of driving. For the next 500 miles, they recommend only towing under 50 mph. For more information on the breaking-in process and guidelines, be sure to check your owner's manual.
What is included in a Lexus towing prep package?
If you are planning on towing with your Lexus, you should definitely consider the towing prep package. Three key components are included in the towing prep package: a heavy-duty radiator, a cooling fan, and transmission oil coolers. These will help your Lexus perform better when towing.
It is important to note that, while these upgrades will relieve stress on your engine while towing, the towing prep package on its own will not make your vehicle completely tow-ready. You will still need to install the hitch receiver and have wiring prepared to connect to the trailer.
The dealer can do this at the time of purchase, but it will cost extra on top of what you pay for the towing prep package.
How can I tell if my Lexus has a towing package?
The best way to check if your Lexus is equipped with a towing prep package is to find the VIN (vehicle identification number) and call your dealer. They will have the records you need to know if your vehicle has the towing package.
You could also compare your radiator with another from a Lexus of the same model and year. If one has a larger radiator, then it is equipped with the tow package and the other isn't. However, this method is not as reliable as inquiring at the dealership. Furthermore, it will be inconclusive if both radiators are the same size.
Can you tow without the towing prep package?
Lexus does not recommend towing with their vehicles without the towing prep package. The weight ratings for their vehicles' towing capacities only apply to those vehicles with the towing prep package installed. While you may be able to do some light, short-term towing in an emergency, it is best to avoid if possible.
There are some exceptions to this if your trim level comes with the towing prep package accessories standard. For example, there is no additional towing prep package for the 2020 Lexus RX F Sport-levels because they include the heavy-duty radiator, cooling fan, and transmission oil coolers standard.
Lexus may be the ultimate brand for urbane sophistication. However, that doesn't mean your Lexus isn't ready to hit the highway for a proper road trip. By following our advice, you'll be ready to hit the trail in your Lexus, hauling your boat, camper, and more behind you.