Thank you all for the invaluable comments and recommendations. As it turns out, I went to a local dealer today to purchase the Cub Cadet 528 SWE, and they had a Husqvarna 1130SB-LSb that someone ordered and then backout. Dealer offered me 20% off, which brought the price down to within my range. I hesitated because I did not research this brand/model at all. The dealer explained some of the better quality features, which I will outline below, so I am hoping I did ok as I purchased this snow thower cold with no research.
B&S OHV 342cc engine, which is 93cc more than the Troy and 37cc more than the Cub Cadet
30" clearance width compared to 28
Augars are thicker gauge and the teeth are design differently than the Troy and Cub, and according to the dealer this is much better.
The augar, impeller shafts are larger as well as the augar gear case
Ths chute is all metal and has all metal componets, except for a rubber flapper at the top. Also has locking indents to keep the deflector/chute in a locked position
Power turn (which is the feature I really wanted so I could manuver the beast in the garage and for my wife and elderly dad who will occassionally use it.
the augar and drive levers use steel rods instead of cables
Variable speed drive
Drift cutters (not sure what these are for or how they are used)
shear "bolts" as compared to pins
I could see the difference once the dealer pointed these things out and these quality items seem logical or he upscaled the uninformed consumer. However, what I really notice is how much heavier this Husqvarna is over the Troy or Cub Cadet. I could not find a weight in the owners manual, but it has to be 50+lbs heavier. My dad and I could easily lift the Troy into the back of my pickup, but no way could we lift the Husq out of the pickup. I think part of this may be the thickness of the metal used for the cage, auger, impeller and body panels. Even the scraper plate and skid pads look to be heavier gage metal.
So I hope I did ok. The build quality seem good, has the trigger "touch and turn" which was an important feature for me, larger engine (92cc worth), and even comes with heated grips. -)
I would be interested in your comments, and hopefully good comments so I don't suffer from buyer's remorse.