Drat. This ain't easy. After much reading (and my thanks to all those that have shared their research, conclusions, and costs), I reached at least a few basic conclusions. I'm going to quickly outline them and then ask for some advise. First background: * cutting 1 acre residential, mostly flat, with a 200' long steep berm that I'll either hand mow or use the 265 on. * I own a JD 265 w/46" deck that will likely still be running in 10 more years, but I don't care for the deck. To shallow, with all the ills that implies. Still, after 17 years, I give it the props it deserves. * Objective: Deere, like it or not, is getting old. 1 acre, with a deck I don't like, ain't in the cards. It needs help or a replacement. If I could afford a CUT I'd do that but can't so... Conclusions: * I'll skip the MTD/CC, Husky et al bashing, and simply say "I agree" * Simplicity Consumer Z WAS at a tempting price point in '04, but that has changed. I'm seeing $4.5K for the Consumer Z 20/50, the hyrdo's aren't really all that smooth, and the speed, at 7 mph isn't all that impressive. Of course, with a 20" tire, it might not be smooth enough to run faster. * I could live with a a Hustler Mini Z, and it seems to be about $6k new. Faster, more power, bit more deck (lets assume 23/52), bigger tires. Maybe tougher, but finish quality of many ZTR brands is beginning to make me nervous and I know a simplicity or a Deere is likely, say, painted right for gods sake. Maye a hustler is the next kubota, but then maybe not. * I would be happy with a Deere 727A, and it seems a close enough match to the Mini Z. Pricing new about the same, $6k, but resale race naturally goes to the Deere, and I think I could find a Deere dealer on the moon. Now, any of these best live 10 years, and I'm not gonna own something I won't like for $100 or $125 a year diff, so the Consumer Z is looking a bit weak to me right now. But lets shake this up a bit and then I'll ask the question. Lets assume I can buy a used Consumer z for $3.3K, and hustler for $4.5K and Deere for $5K. Still not a lot difference, but is Deere really 50% more mower then the Simplicity? For 50% savings I'd love to get the Cz, but I'm having a hard time believing it's even close to an equal machine, and, again, for $100 to $125 a year.... Comments, advise from any welcome'd those that have run or owned both desperately sought.