First of all I would like to thank those that regularly visit and contribute to this forum. It has become a welcomed addition to my nightly research (or over research). I have learned alot from other's comments, experience, and knowledge. Everyone is busy these days so I wanted to take a second to say thanks.
On to my question. I have about a .6 acre lot w/ walkout basement - roughly 12degrees on each side. My main purpose in getting a riding lawn mower is for speed. 2 kids in sports/activities and an hour commute each day leaves very little time to mow. I live in Iowa and the past few winters have been brutal. We just built a house 3 years ago and are finding out our design may not have been the greatest as we get some significant snow drifts in our driveway...which is only about 25' long. I have a seperate snow blower that I had planned on using and considered puting a blade on the tractor to push the wet, slushy, 1" stuff that accumulates....before we drive over it in our haste to get out and about and pack it all down. Since our house is relatively new...we have a lot of landscaping stuff that needs to get done. Right now - not many obstacles. We will be doing some retaining walls, deck, patio, trees, bushes, garden, etc...so I'll be hauling around a utility cart as well and need to muscle to haul it around.
That is my plan as of June 2009. Here are some options I have narrowed down. My local JD Dealership about 3 miles away has an '08 X324 with 75 hours on it and a 48" deck for $3500. Getting slightly out of my price range...but do-able. The all wheel steer is interesting to me, however not something that I need right now. With eventual landscaping projects - that may change, but with a small yard (.6 acre) - maybe not a necesity. There is an '07 X300 (85 hrs) with 42" deck, bagger, 46" snowblower, chains, and weights, and heavy duty spring for $3200.
I have looked all over and can not find anything that explains the difference between an '07 and '08 x300. Anyone here have some advice?
I've also tinkered with the idea of an LX series mower as well. I like the idea of the foot control vs. the lever control for the deck/attachments. There was an LX277 AWS 2000 model..estimated 350 hours with 42" mulching deck for $1600. No hour meeter and the lever control is sorta bothering me on this one...but it's half the cost of the others. I just missed out on an LX280 (2005 model) with 130 hours on it and AWS for $2400. Same place has a 2005 John Deere CE LX280 with 140 hours, mulch kit, Bar tires, 42" deck - $2300. Not sure what the "CE" means?
For storage purposes, I really can't go larger than a 42" deck. I would prefer to mulch than to bag. My thought was...if the x300 is sufficient for my needs...I may sell the bagger and the snowblower and get a blade, cart, and lawn sweeper. Then again - the X324 with the 4 year warranty, AWS, tranny/power is interesting as well. My max budget is $3500...so the X324 would not allow me any left over for attachments. They also have an X320 - 35 hours - for $3400. If there are other models or suggestions you guys have, I'm all ears.
'08 X324 - $3500 AWS 48"deck (75 hours)
'08 X320 - $3400 48" deck - may be able to get them to replace with 42"
'07 X300 - $3200 42" deck, bagger, & snowblower (85 hours)
'05 LX280 - $2300 mulch kit (140 hours)
'00 LX277 - $1600 AWS and steal utility trailer (300ish hours)
Sorry for such a long starting post. My intent is to make one purchase - and have it last 15-20 years. Appreciate your feedback - possitive and negative. Thansk again!