David, the current May issue of CR includes new tests of lawn mowers and tractors. The top ranking brands are much the same(Honda and Toro)as in the Buying Guide which Blue Jay discussed and which uses 2012 test results. The Honda HRX217VKA($600)was first, but the HRR2169VKA at $400 did nearly as well and was given a "Best Buy" designation. Some Toro and Troy-Bilt models were also highly rated. The Husqvarna models tested somewhat lower in performance and also were noted in the Reliability Survey of owners as being lower than average in reliability. They didn't receive either a "Recommended" or "Best Buy" designation.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.