One last comment about MTD and peoples perception. MTD build what they do because that's what sells. They are very successful at building tractors and other yard equipment to fit the price point of their intended sellers (Box Stores) and what people want to shell out (no one wants to pay much for anything anymore).
Can MTD build a great tractor? Yes...it's not that hard. For the lovers of the 1990's Cyclops Cub Cadets who some say are some the best garden tractors ever built, MTD built them. They know how to do it, it's not hard. Do they build them today? Yes...but hardly anyone buys them, that's a fact. It is the XT3.
But I will say this. The XT3 is in a different class and is more akin to the Cyclops and 2500-3000 series from the past. Are they selling many? No. Those with the money want bigger and usually go to JD. But to slam MTD, they are just in the business to sell...like everyone else, and they make what people will buy.
For the same class of GT, JD 500 series, Kubota GR, Cub Cadet XT3 and Simplicity Prestige are your only options. Going higher than that gets into a different class such as the JD 700 and Simplicity Legacy, but that is some major $. Next step is Sub Compact.