I'm getting back in the saddle after a long hiatus; and realizing my gear is way out of date (and partially broken). So it's finally time to retire my 1994 GT Aggressor and get with the times. I'm having a hard time deciding what to buy and how much to spend. I want to take a moderate step up in performance; preferably with the ability to upgrade in the future. I'd like to stay under $750, but could go up to $1,000 if the difference in price is really justifiable. I'm 6'2" and 165lbs. I ride frequently on hilly paved roads around my house for exercise, but really enjoy trail riding and want to be able to hit the local single track (Fountainhead Virginia Trail Reviews). So I'm thinking another XC hardtail. Here are the contenders. Thoughts? Other suggestions? Thanks for your time!

In budget:
2013 GT Avalanche 2.0 ($679)
2014 Felt Nine 70 ($699)
2013 DiamondBack Overdrive Sport ($549)

Doable budget-busters:
2014 GT Zaskar 9R Comp ($999 + pedals)
2013 Trek Mamba GFE ($1,019)
2014 Felt Nine 60 ($1,049)