Considering buying a late model Conquest/Prestige
After 20 years of tinkering with Garden Tractors of different manufacturers, mostly GT's built the 70's, I'm looking for something much more newer. My wife and I live in a home on 5 acres, most of the property is heavily wooded, I'm guessing we mow about 1.5-2 acres. The elevation is pretty level, except for some steep ditches out by the road, but not too steep to feel uncomfortable cutting them with a garden tractor. One of the biggest issues we have is there's quite a bit of uneven ground that we cut, (ie. pot holes, stump holes), there's also some uneven areas that can scalp if you're not careful. We used to mow it with a JD317 with a 46" deck, which was ok for cutting the grass. After selling the 317 borrowed an old case 155 from my dad, with full length rollers on the deck which NEARLY DESTROYED OUR YARD! We're currently use a Gravely 818T with a 50" deck and its better than the Deere. However, it's a 78' model and getting looong in the tooth! I still want something somewhat heavy duty, being a former small engine mechanic I can't bring myself to buy a tractor from a big box store.
Right now, I'm looking at either a used Conquest or Prestige or something from Deere. Like most parts of the country, I have a better chance of finding a Deere in Georgia than a Simplicity. However, I feel like the Simplicity is a better product IMHO.
My budget is 3K, which I know isn't going to get me a new anything. I do feel like it will get me something that's in good shape and would hold up for a number of years. I'm leaning towards a Conquest because they seem to be found in better shape for that price, I also like the idea of manual steering and lift ( i feel that PS and Hydro lift is another thing to break) but I'm not sure if my wife could handle the manual lift. She's not very muscular and she will be using this as much as I will.
The reason I'm asking as many questions as we will most likely be having to make a roadtrip to buy a Simplicity, they're scarce as hensteeth in Georgia and I would hate to drive 5 hours to get one only to have her not being happy with it.
I know its subjective, but how does a Simplicity do with potholes (stump holes) and uneven terrain? I'm not looking to make my yard look like a golf course, but I'm a little gun shy after my experience with the Case.