The Lexus GX470’s Towing Capacity Can It Tow the Average Trailer

The Lexus GX470’s Towing Capacity: Can It Tow the Average Trailer?

The Lexus GX470 was one of the luxury brand’s full-size SUVs that was only in production for 7 years before eventually being replaced by the newer GX460 in 2009.

We know that Lexus is the more luxurious division of Toyota, so it makes sense that the GX470 was actually based on the Land Cruiser Prado from that time period.

Powering the GX470 was a Toyota-built 4.7-liter V8 engine called the “2UZ-FE” which initially produced 235hp from the factory.

But the question of whether or not it can tow the average trailer or other similar things properly still remains. 

To answer this question, we first need to start by knowing the GX470’s towing capacity from the factory. Then we’ll slowly work our way up from there.

What is the towing capacity of the Lexus GX470?

From its release in 2002 to halfway through 2004, the Lexus GX470 had a towing capacity of 5,000lbs (2,300kg).

From mid-2004 to the end of its production in 2009, the Lexus GX470 had an increased towing capacity of 6,500lbs (2,900kg) and an additional boost in power that gave it 270hp.

Production YearsEngineTowing Capacity
2002 to mid-20044.7L 2UZ-FE V8 (235hp)5,000 lbs
Mid-2004 to 20094.7L 2UZ-FE V8 (270hp)6,500 lbs

While the GX470 only had one engine option mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, Lexus still managed to raise its towing capacity thanks to more power along with other upgrades.

One such upgrade was a new frame-bolted tubular hitch that allowed it to be stronger and more rigid.

In late 2004, a “Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System” (KDSS) was also added as an optional feature that greatly assisted the GX470 ‘s handling when driving over bumpy terrain.

This kind of technology ensured that the GX470 could still have considerable stability in such conditions, which is especially important when you’re towing something along with you as well.

Can the Lexus GX470 tow a trailer?

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the GX470’s towing capacity along with some of its technology, we can now start focusing on the main question above.

The short answer to that question is it really depends. There are some factors to consider, including the type of trailer used and how much actual load you’re putting on it.

We have provided a table below with different types of trailers and other things that you may think of towing along with you.

We’ve also provided the average unloaded and loaded weight of each trailer type so that you can directly compare it to the GX470’s 5,000 to 6,500-lb towing capacity.

Take note that there may be other types of trailers not included that can be towed by the upgraded GX470 (6,500-lb capacity) but not the pre-upgrade one (5,000-lb capacity).

Type of TrailerAverage Weight (Unloaded)Average Weight (Loaded)GX470 Models That Can Tow It
Canoe/Kayak Trailer200 lbs400 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Jet Ski Trailer300 lbs1,800 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Motorcycle Trailer500 lbs2,400 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Fishing Boat Trailer600 lbs3,300 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Tow Dolly600 lbs4,000 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Small Utility Trailer (Open)700 lbs2,500 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Small Utility Trailer (Enclosed)1,000 lbs3,200 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Teardrop Trailer1,700 lbs2,400 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
A-Frame Camper1,700 lbs2,900 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Car Trailer1,900 lbs9,000 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Large Boat Trailer2,200 lbs13,600 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Pop-Up Camper2,300 lbs3,400 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Large Utility Trailer (Enclosed)2,700 lbs7,100 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Small Travel Trailer2,800 lbs3,600 lbsBoth 5,000 and 6,500-lb models
Small Horse Trailer2,900 lbs7,200 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Large Flatbed Trailer3,000 lbs10,400 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Dump Trailer4,500 lbs16,900 lbsUnloaded trailer only for both models
Large Travel Trailer6,700 lbs8,300 lbsCannot be towed by both models
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,200 lbs23,200 lbsCannot be towed by both models
Large Livestock Trailer7,300 lbs18,700 lbsCannot be towed by both models
Toy Hauler7,600 lbs17,900 lbsCannot be towed by both models
Fifth-Wheel Camper12,700 lbs18,700 lbsCannot be towed by both models

Based on the table above, both the pre-upgrade and upgraded Lexus GX470 can tow most of the trailers unloaded but only half of them when loaded.

The GX470 is easily up to the task when towing motorcycles, jet skis, canoes, and even small fishing boats around.

It can also make quick work of towing teardrop trailers, small travel trailers, and A-frame campers that all weigh less than 4,000lbs.

But while some of the other trailers may give the illusion of being considerably light, it becomes a completely different story when they’re already loaded with their respective cargo.

Take the car trailer, for example, that only weighs 1,900lbs when empty but can immediately weigh around 9,000lbs when loaded with a vehicle.

So unless you’re only loading golf carts or a considerably light car on it, the GX470 is not the best choice for towing a fully-loaded car trailer.

While you may be able to tow some bigger trailers like dump trailers and large flatbeds, it’ll be up to your own discretion when loading them without going past the 6500-lb capacity.

But there are also some trailers that are just way too heavy even when completely empty.

Gooseneck flatbeds and fifth-wheel campers, for instance, are both way past the GX470’s 6500-lb towing capacity.

If you’re going to be towing trailers that tip the weighing scale at 5-digit values when loaded, then you’re better off turning to at least a 3/4-ton truck like the Ram 3500.

Compared to the GX470, the newest 3/4-ton trucks today can tow 15,000 to 20,000lbs of load or more.

Can the Lexus GX470 tow more than the competition?

To be fair, comparing the towing capacity of a decade-old luxury SUV like the Lexus GX470 to that of a newer 3/4-ton truck is a bit overkill.

So for this part, we’ll be comparing the GX470’s towing capacity to those of other models that are more its size.

We’ve selected models that directly competed with the GX470 during its time, and you’ll find each of their engines, minimum towing capacity, and maximum towing capacity below.

We would also like to mention that the towing capacities shown below are when the trailer is equipped with its own braking system.

Thus, you can also refer to each vehicle’s towing capacity below as “braked towing capacity”. You can read more about braked versus unbraked towing further down. 

When towing a trailer without brakes, the recommended towing capacity of any of the vehicles listed will be drastically limited. 

With that said, we highly recommend checking your owner’s manual, as there may be specific towing instructions that are unique to each vehicle.

Vehicle ModelEngineMinimum Towing CapacityMaximum Towing Capacity
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (J120)3.0L I4 (170hp)

4.0L V6 (240hp)

5,500 lbs6,600 lbs (some 2009 models only)
Mercedes-Benz M-Class (ML500)5.0L V8 (288hp)5,800 lbs7,700 lbs
BMW X53.0L I6 (225hp)6,000 lbs6,000 lbs
Land Rover Discovery 3 (LR3)2.7L V6-T (195hp)

4.0L V6 (216hp)

4.4L V8 (300hp)

7,700 lbs7,700 lbs
Acura MDX (YD1/YD2)3.5L V6 (240hp) (YD1)

3.7L V6 (300hp) (YD2)

5,000 lbs5,000 lbs
Volkswagen Touareg3.2L V6 (240hp)

4.2L V8 (310hp)

5.0L V10 (310hp)

7,700 lbs7,700 lbs

As you can notice in the table above, we even included the GX470’s Toyota counterpart, the Land Cruiser Prado J120.

The J120’s range in towing capacity is pretty similar to that of the GX470, but only some specific model trims in 2009 were capable of pulling 6,600lbs.

The ML500 of the early 2000s, with its 288-hp V8 engine, beats the GX470’s maximum towing capacity by 1,200lbs.

The GX470 does, however, beat both the BMW X5 and the Acura MDX of that time period.

It still falls short of the Land Rover LR3 and Volkswagen Touareg, which both have a towing capacity of 7,700lbs.

A bit of a fun fact about the Touareg is that it used to hold the world record for the heaviest object towed by a passenger car in 2006.

It achieved this feat by towing a 155-ton Boeing 747 while having 4.3 tons of ballast added onboard and a few other “light modifications” so that the tires wouldn’t just spin in place.

Despite this feat, we definitely don’t recommend attempting to tow a jet airliner with your Touareg or any similar car, for that matter, as it was still performed in very specific conditions.

Towing Braked and Unbraked Trailers

When it comes to towing loads with your Lexus GX470 or any other vehicle, you also need to consider if the trailer that you’re towing comes with its own brakes or not.

Whenever you purchase a trailer of any type, it’s important to clarify if it’s a braked or unbraked trailer.

As we’ve said earlier, if your trailer doesn’t come with any brakes, you will be limited to how much weight you can legally and safely tow.

In most cases, this limit is usually set to 750kg (1,653lbs). Be sure to have a look at your area’s own towing regulations as the limit may vary.

Most heavier camper or travel trailers are required to have brakes, but in the U.S., the actual minimum weight to which they would need brakes may vary from one state to the other.

For instance, most states require brakes to be installed in trailers that are over 3000lbs. Other states, however, already require brake installation for any trailer over 1000lbs.

Trailers that do come with brakes are generally equipped with either electric brakes, surge brakes, or emergency brakes.

Electric Brakes

Electric Brakes

Electric brakes are designed to link to your vehicle’s actual braking system. So whenever you step on the brake pedal, it will also simultaneously slow down the trailer itself.

These kinds of brakes have quicker response times whenever you use them, but you still need to make sure that the entire system is linked properly at all times.

Surge Brakes

Unlike electric brakes, surge brakes act like a sensor that detects your vehicle slowing down and applies the necessary brake pressure to slow down the trailer.

The main caveat to this type of braking system is that it doesn’t react as instantly as electric brakes, so it means you should avoid slamming on your vehicle’s brakes as much as you can.

Emergency Brakes

When it comes to slamming on the brakes, the emergency brakes, also called the “break-away” system, are the safest way to bring your trailer to a halt if it gets detached from your car.

The break-away system works by attaching a cable from the back of your vehicle to the trailer’s braking system.

Emergency Brakes

In the event that your trailer gets detached, the cable pulls out a pin that’s attached to the trailer brake, thus engaging them until the trailer comes to a stop.

Unlike the other two, emergency brakes are actually required for any braked trailer. Thus, emergency brakes come with either of the two as a set.