For my style of use - is there a compelling reason to go up to the Ferris class of mower? In a yard my size, we are talking about running it for what...30min a week during mowing season here in Kentucky, so probably 15hrs a year?
I don't have any personal experience with Simplicity, but we do have a local dealer and from dealing with them on some other stuff, they seem to be a good bunch.
My parents do have a Ferris (I think its a 2000z) and have been really happy with it (it's roughly 5 years old). But they are mowing 10ish acres (since they got the Ferris the line where it goes from yard to field keeps getting pushed back each year - so they must like it).