I moved-up to the IC-7200 from an IC-718, which I consider to be the quintessential beginner's rig. Though the 7200 is considerably more expensive, it has many additional features that result in a significant improvement in the user experience compared to the 718 (and other entry level rigs too I expect). First and foremost, the 7200 has DSP filtering in the IF stage rather than the audio stage. This means that, coupled with the roofing filter on the 7200's front end, it has much higher selectivity. It therefore does a better job of reducing the effects of unwanted signals that are close to the signal you want to hear. The IF DSP provides selectable "windows" that can limit the interference from nearby signals as well as the ability to independently adjust the position of either side of the bandpass window. I've found this to be extremely useful already and I expect it to be more valuable as the solar cycle improves and the bands become more crowded. There are lots of other great features too, 6M operation, automatic notch filtering (courtesy of the IF DSP), and selectable AGC settings. In addition, the ability to connect the radio to a computer directly through a USB interface is huge; it greatly simplifies using digital modes. I also find Icom radios much more intuitive to operate than Yaesus (YMMV). For me the weather resistance wasn't a deciding factor, I do essentially all my operating from home.
I highly recommend it. A contest-quality rig it ain't, but it's a superb value and offers a worthwhile step-up in functionality over an entry-level radio.