Coming from my HO scale background, I am surprised to see a major manufacturer in 2021 not offering a clean, simple plug and play DCC ready option. Maybe it is just not a prevalent in G Scale like it is in the HO scale.
Thanks for the ride guys! As a follow up to my original post, I ended up putting a decoder in the 2009 Aristo loco and it operates like a champ! Based on the feedback here, I decided NOT to go with a new USA brand loco for now. I pick up another nice, low hour Aristo loco off eBay and I should have no issue converting it to DCC.
By the way Scooter, there is another plug and play decoder for Aristo, the Phoenix SM18, but there are a couple of caveats, you might have to check the aristo socket to make sure nothing was connected to J2...