I went through this decision recently and ended up getting an XT225. It cost several hundred dollars less - money that could then go into bark busters, tank bag, RAM mount for GPS, seat cover, home-made rear rack, tail bag...
You'll probably be happy with either one. The newer one has a bit more power, more modern looks and you'll be shifting less, but they're not that different in terms of purpose, comfort, fuel economy, cost of upkeep, etc. The older one has been around a long time, so there's a good store on knowledge out there.
Don't discount the possibility of picking up a used one either. Lots of people start on a small bike, get comfortable with it and decide to "move up". I did that when I started riding and it took several years to figure out that small, light bikes are fun no matter how experienced a rider you are. In any case, you can save some money this way as long as the bike wasn't abused.
I crossed over 1,000 miles on my XT225 yesterday and I've been very pleased with it. It takes me lots of places I daren't go on my Harley or Buell.