I have 2 21" cub cadets... not my personal favorite but was in the same position as you several years ago and opted to go for the middle of the road equip., or atleast I thought at the time. They are both 2 & 3 years old; still using them and run fine. Minor problems with both of them.
I am looking for a new 21". Most of my yards are small and can't justify a wb at the time being. I went to the Honda dealer to find out more about the Hondas. He told me to go straight to the JD dealership (we have a Honda, JD, and Kubota dealerships in town) and look at the JX75. "Don't waste your time with the Hondas. Although a great machine, they are pricey and have a smaller engine compared to the JD." This was coming from the Honda salesperson! So I went and checked out the JDs.
Haven't bought one yet but will in the near future. He quoted me at $775 and the Honda at $1050.