We had the same concerns with the tires and axles when we bought ours but in the end decided we would just replace the tires with D rated tires and keep the others for spares. We haven't upgraded yet, but haven't had any problems.
We bought a 4 year extended warranty that covers tires, brakes, axles etc and I figure if we have a weight issue, they will have to prove we didn't have it overweight. As long as I keep up with the routine bearing maintenance, it should be fine.
I totally agree with you on the interior option changes. We were fortunate to find an early model year that was sitting on a lot in January. The mid year changes in my opinion was a substantial downgrade in appearance in our opinion. The dealer offered us $4K lower price on the newer one if we would take it because they couldn't get rid of it. Keeping my wife happy was well worth the $4k. If I would have bought the newer one, I can almost guarantee I would have had to either upgrade the interior myself or we would have sold it within the 1st year, because I would go nuts listening to how we should have spent the extra money.
2016 Rockwood 8329SS
2003 Ford Excursion 4x4 7.3
Mount Pleasant, SC
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Ephesians 4:13