I sure hope this thread gets some response. I was about to start a thread with the same question. We have always had Kenmore washers and dryers. The first washer lasted 17 years, the water filter started leaking and I patched it up with my hot glue gun and got another couple of years out of it!
The dryer lasted longer. The second washer lasted probably about 15 years, give or take a year. My last one died about a year ago after about 7 years I believe it was. Really liked it and we were in the process of getting it repaired. But the repair man started replacing parts, one after another - clutch, new motor, etc., etc. He told us that the front loaders are nightmares as far as repairs. The simpler the better. Our last Kenmore had more bells and whistles than the previous two. After he kept replacing parts and it still wasn't in working order, we told him to stop, not worth fixing. Now I wish we had just sucked it up and had it repaired. The new ones have all these automatic water sensors, locking lids, water saving features. I don't want all that stuff. We were told that the automatic water sensor filled the machine according to the weight of the load and many times didn't fill with enough water to wash properly. I wash a lot of fabric - I like to throw it in the machine, fill it and swish it around with my hands, and then spin it out. I don't want any locking door. We ended up getting a commercial grade Maytag for the time being as it didn't have any of those sensors or a locking lid. It gets the clothes clean. I can throw jeans in there with the knees full of dirt and grass from working in the yard, don't have to pre-treat with anything, and they come out clean. But I have noticed that it is hard on the fabric of our clothes. I can see more wear. And, although it has a supposed 'delicate' cycle, I think it agitates just as hard as the normal cycle, just has hesitations, so it is not continuously agitating. My last washer had a two-speed motor.
These contraptions with water-saving features annoy the heck out of me - like toilets too. What have you saved if you have to flush two or three times to get the job done? And showers with water saving heads, so you have to stay in the shower twice as long just to get rinsed? And washers that won't get your clothes clean. I don't want some machine making my decisions for me. Touchy subject at my house, yes???