I guess that's what happens when I go online before I'm fully awake. I got it backwards.
Top load machines are horribly inefficient, and I only buy front load machines.
I used to sell washers and dryers. The best top-load High-Efficiency machines are in fact better all-around machines than the low-end front-loaders that many people buy under the false promise of efficiency and reliability.
I bought a Fisher & Paykel Ecosmart washer. It's 3.8 cubic feet, the same size as a Kenmore HE3 or HE4 (I am not sure, but the HE5 is probably the same size). It uses 1/3 to 1/2 the water of a standard top-loader, and is MUCH more efficient electrically than the average top-loader or front-loader (or at least it was 3-4 years ago when I was in the biz).
My washer uses a variable-speed DC brushless electric motor, and is direct drive. No transmission, clutches, belts, and associated hardware to go bad. The washer is half the weight of a typical top-loader, and about 1/3 the weight of a decent front-loader, which usually uses concrete weights to balance out the spinning drum. The F & P is even 2 inches smaller in width and depth than a normal washer, which was important to me, as my washer and dryer sit in a small space in my home.
The best thing about a Fisher & Paykel? INSANE reliability. I worked in an outlet store, and was the only Sears retailer in Indiana to sell these washers. Any broken ones were to come back to our store. In the year I was at the store, we only got one back, and it was because the owner put the drain tube in his house wrong, causing water to back up into the washing machine. The Kenmores and Whirlpools tended to have the motherboards go out; the Fridgidaires had seal and leakage issues, and every moving part failed on the Maytags... I bought the F & P, and it has been awesome.
I bought the F & P for $479.00 in 2007 or 2008, back when a Kenmore 600-series washer was only $50.00 cheaper and an 800-series was around $550.00. It was a fantastic deal, and I recommend it to anyone.