I don't know how many of you have ever looked for a decent riding mower but its a real challenge. If you go too low end you get something that just wouldn't hold up to our couple acre mowing needs and if you go the other direction you can spend 5K and up...just to get something to get your grass mowed! We looked at the John Deere selections and liked some aspects of them, we looked at the Husqvarna selections and liked some aspects of them, and we looked at Cub Cadet and liked some aspects of them as well and they all probably would have filled our needs (keep in mind we are talking about the 1000 series type here...not the high end stuff) but in the end we decided on Cub Cadet (LTX 1042 KW) because of the features, the engine and the 3 year warranty. Plus, it has a manual deck lift and manual PTO...less to go wrong.
This will be babied and do nothing but mow grass, lawn grass.
The LTX 1042 KW had good reviews and is an upgrade from the regular LTX 1042 in that it has a high back seat, front bumper and the Kawasaki engine. We bought it from a dealer and it was fully prepped and they delivered it to us with a full tank of gas. Having a relationship with a dealer who will service it if needed is a plus in my book. I enjoy wrenching on things but I have a lot of things to wrench on already and for at least 3 years...if something doesn't work as it should they can fix it. I will of course do all the routine maintenance like changing the oil, air filters etc.
The electronic dash (I know, more electronics) has an hour meter, a bunch of idiot lights and a service reminder system to advise you to change the oil when your supposed to.
I find the smaller 42" deck gives a much better cut than the 54" deck ever did on the Dixon and its far more maneuverable. This thing also has an extremely tight turning radius and I have already found it cuts my mowing time considerably. Another feature I like is that you can turn the starter key back one notch and press a button which allows you to mow in reverse until you shut the mower off. On the John Deere you had to push a button each time you wanted to mow in reverse which would be a real pain in the neck for me. Note also the location of the fuel filler on the upper left side just off the dash..this was much handier than the other mowers we looked at.
The 18hp V-twin Kawasaki engine starts easily, its quiet, and has more than enough power for our needs. Its a lot quieter than the 26hp Kawasaki on the Dixon and smoother as well.
And finally, it has a usable fuel gage, something none of the others really had. So we are pleased with it, it cuts great, its quiet and seems to be well made. But it is a 1000 series riding mower and we will make sure its treated as such...just mowing the grass...carefully.