Those are nice, but I want to keep the cost to around $1000 or less if possible, though for the right machine I may go a little higher.
Cub Cadet has this mower for about $1300:
Cub Cadet® 33 in. 420cc Heavy-Duty Wide Area Mower with Front Caster Wheels and Electric Start
Wonder who makes their engine? Cub Cadet's reputation used to be pretty good, is that still the case?
Main drawback with this model appears to be the cutting deck not extending beyond the wheels.