I know I am weighing in late since you seem to have arrived at a decision. I just want to reinforce that getting the D7000 is a good choice. I bought mine about a year ago, moving all the way up from my old D50. I have found the D7000 to be a very capable workhorse camera, one I am not likely to outgrow anytime soon. By the way, like you, my primary lens for it is the 16-85mm VR(which I purchased as refurbished three years ago and has never had a problem).
My best friend shoots with a D90, so I was familiar with that model and actually considered getting it instead of the D7000, since it is "tried-and-true." But after reading the Thom Hogan comparison, I opted for the D7000 as a significant upgrade for not much more money. Now my buddy is thinking of getting the D7000, just as you are.