Reliable - fairly accurate - I have a SD9VE - up to about 600 rounds so far no problems. I have done a few upgrades - Tac grips, glock like extended slide release lever, Apex spring kit , and polished feed ramp.
Depends on what you want it for. I have an SD9. Same gun, basically. Smith made the VE more affordable by using polymer sights. The original SD's used metal M&P sights and the front sight was a night sight. Price was too close to M&P, though, so they didn't sell very well. The new VE's are priced right and have sold like hotcakes.
Anyway, to cut to the chase, the trigger on these guns is their only real issue. Heavy, long travel, no distinct break or reset. It's a double action only, self defense trigger, designed to fire only if you really mean it. Hence, the "SD" in the model name. Be sure to try one before you buy it.
Otherwise, they are great. A tremendous value for the price, and nothing "cheap" about them. The grip, in my opinion, is better than on the M&P's.
My buddy has had two. The first was stolen and he went and purchased another one. I have shot his and it works great and fires every time. I have never heard of him having any problems with either one of the ones he has owned. His is in .40 and it carries a punch for sure. I don't think you can do better anywhere close to that price range.