When properly equipped with the Towing Prep Package, the Lexus RX 350 SUV has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds across the entire lineup.
If you’re in the market for a midsize SUV to haul a trailer or other large items, it’s important to know its limits. Most larger vehicles are designed with general towing capabilities, but there are other features to consider that will affect your SUV’s ultimate towing capacity, such as suspension, transmission, engine power, vehicle configuration, and its own weight.
Here to help navigate all of the ins and outs of the Lexus RX 350’s towing capacity is
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How much can a Lexus RX 350 tow?
Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (295 hp)
The standard RX 350 is a five-passenger, two-row compact SUV. This Lexus model offers a silky-smooth ride, a wide and easily accessible cargo bay, and satisfactory towing capabilities for its class.
Trailer hitches for the Lexus RX 350
To achieve the 3,500-pound towing capacity without damaging your vehicle, you’ll need to purchase the Towing Prep Package. Included in this package are a heavy-duty radiator, an engine cooling fan, and transmission oil coolers. Hitches are sold separately, but fortunately, there are still a few great options!
If you want to get everything in one place, you can always outfit your RX 350 with the
Tow Hitchsold by Lexus, rated for up to 3,500 pounds. One advantage to purchasing your tow hitch through Lexus is the optional professional installation—just keep in mind that it will come at an extra cost.
If you’d like to save a little money but still invest in a trusted and reliable brand, the
CURT 13143 Class 3trailer hitch is fully compatible with the RX 350. It’s easy to install and is rated for 4,000 pounds gross trailer weight. What’s more, it’s easy to clean, resistant to rust and corrosion, and backed by a lifetime warranty.
Here are two more recommendations to consider:
Most hitch receivers are sold separately, so unless you buy a special kit with everything included, you’ll also need to purchase an accompanying trailer ball, ball mount, and wiring harness. Most trailer hitches come ready to install, but if you experience any trouble, you can reach out to your local mechanic for professional installation.
How to install a tow bar
How to calculate the towing capacity you need
You may be wondering how much you can tow with your new towing hitch. It’s best to keep your load safely under your maximum towing capacity and consider your setup. You should absolutely consider your trailer’s empty weight plus the weight of the loaded items.
While specific trailer types will differ in weight, here’s an idea of smaller items you can expect to tow with an RX 350, both empty and loaded:
Canoe or kayak
If you’re looking to tow a little more weight, here are a few averages for larger trailers, both loaded and unloaded:
Small open utility
All Lexus RX 350s are rated to tow a maximum capacity of 3,500 pounds with the Trailer Tow Package. But if you have big plans to toe the line with regards to your vehicle’s limits, such as an A-frame camper or a fishing boat trailer, you’re better off with a vehicle with a larger towing capacity.
Never attempt to stretch your vehicle’s load maximums and always remember to check the weight of your trailer when it’s fully loaded. You’ll also need to account for the weight of any passengers and/or goods stored in your cargo hold.
How to increase towing capacity
Since the RX 350 is already pushing the limits for its size and class even with the Towing Prep Package, there aren’t too many aids available that can increase its towing capacity. That said, there are a couple of ways to set up your vehicle for the long haul.
For one, you can improve your vehicle’s stability by upgrading to AWD. It may seem counterintuitive to swap out FWD for AWD in regards to towing capacity, but sometimes it’s nice to have the option. In slippery situations or harsh road conditions, AWD can improve traction, thereby reducing trailer sway and slightly improving fuel efficiency.
An AWD upgrade does not make any promises, however, and it’s important to still practice safe driving and towing habits. There are a few more small tweaks you can make that could improve your vehicle’s load handling, including:
- Installing a weight-distribution hitch, which will help relieve a little stress on your SUV’s suspension system
- Upgrading your axles
- Choosing high-performance brakes and updating your rotors
- If feasible, swapping out your radiator for a larger one (although the Towing Prep Package already includes this accommodation)
Now don’t go overboard! Some changes you make to your vehicle can end up decreasing your towing efficiency and even cause more wear and tear on your vehicle over time. Upgrading your vehicle from the standard 18-inch to the more luxury 20-inch wheels, for example, can decrease your SUV’s engine power and torque, consequently reducing its towing capacity.
Ultimately, if you have big aspirations for towing larger items like an A-frame camper or a fishing boat trailer, you will likely need an entirely different vehicle to meet your needs. If you want to tow medium to monstrous loads, consider a full-size SUV like the
Nissan Armadawith a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds or the
Ford Expeditionwith a maximum 9,300-pound towing capacity.
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Is the Lexus RX 350 good for towing?
The Lexus RX 350 is a pretty good option for towing smaller loads up to 3,500 pounds, but that’s only if you’ve already upgraded to the Towing Prep Package. Most compact SUVs have difficulty reaching towing capacity rates of 3,000 pounds, so the RX 350 is pretty adequate!
Due to the vehicle’s physical capacity limits, we recommend upgrading to a larger vehicle if you intend to tow larger loads.
Can you put a trailer hitch on a Lexus RX 350?
Yes, you can put a trailer hitch on a Lexus RX 350 either at the dealership upon purchasing your vehicle, or you can later install an aftermarket system.