The transaxles are solid....they have been used for years in ever other brand imaginable. Scag, toro, exmark, gravely etc. So ferris waited out the market to make sure they were a good unit. 6,499 is MSRP for that model BUT in his/her defense. There isn't as much money for the dealer in the 600/700s like the 1500Zs had. but for the customer its a clear $800 cheaper than last years 1500z. It's kinda of a happy medium lol Just as long as the dealer is solid to work with and can take care of you. I would ask him to take $100 off and buy it!