We have a middle of the road Kenmore front loader and I have not had any mechanical problems with it. It cleans well (including cloth diapers), has a variety of water temps, and wash settings, which is what I wanted. We bought the unit almost 7 yrs. ago pre kids (well I might have been newly pregnant and didn't know it yet!) so I didn't think about the controls being at a toddler's height (as we don't have room for pedestals due to overhead cabinets), and DD1 was infamous for trying to change the washer settings. The worst thing I hate about our model is that it is kind of loud during the spin cycle, and that the soap drawer has cracked, and the settings on the machine have rubbed off due to moisture and such. I have never had a stink problem. The only thing I wish it had was a pre wash drawer for Oxy Clean or Clorox 2 type additives.
With all of that said when we replace this unit I think I will most likely look at the non agetator top loaders, and maybe the Electrolux front loader because we have been really happy with our Electrolux dryer we just bought in January.
I know you don't need toddler entertainment, but both of my girls between the age of maybe 9 months and 3 yrs. loved to sit and watch the clothes wash in the washer. They also like to help me load the washer and because it is at their level they feel extra helpful.