Having just got our EX-L (no RES), I have realised that, while still too much for our tastes at $1500, the RES and upgraded stereo head unit in the RES model has some 'nifty' features:
You get the tape player thrown in, which would otherwise cost you $140+installation minimum.
You can have your kids listen to tape, CD or radio (or watch a DVD) through headphones while you can listen to something else (or nothing) through the vehicles speakers. After the 5th repeat of that Barney CD I can see where an option like that has some real appeal! My wife in particular likes to listen to AM talk radio, while my 3-year-old daughter likes to listen to music CDs or modern rock stations (go figure). The RES setup would be nice in that situation.
Still, $1500 buys you an awful lot of aftermarket audio goodies or CDs...
2002 Granite Green EX-L
Splash Guards, Cargo Tray, Weathertech Mats