We just bought a 2010 Rockwood 2701SS. We looked at a 2009 Cruise Lite 26BH, but in the long run I had the same issues as you. I wanted storage. The Cruise Lite has what they call the 'Packpack' edition. Meaning that it has a storage tray on the back of the trailer where you can carry stuff.
A couple of things that I did not like about this is: 1) when in use, the storage tray adds length to your overall trailer. 2) You basically have to put everything away either when you get to your campsite of return home. You can't (or I wouldn't) just leave it on the camper. 3) Whatever you do put on the tray adds weight to the back of the camper and takes away from your tongue weight. I prefer having storage in the front and back so that I can determine where I store stuff in order to adjust my weight distribution as I need.
Overall we did like the Cruise Lite. It was the only one the dealer had at the time and already had an offer on it. We put our name down as a backup to the bid in case something fell through, which it did. We ended up going to a different dealer on the other end of town that sold the Rockwoods and decided that was what we really wanted. Because of the truck I pull with, I am really limited to added weight from storing, so I don't have my storage maxed out....which is just fine by me. But I can tell you that I am much happier having storage integrated into the camper rather than having the storage tray on the back. Of course, this is just my personal opinion and I'm sure others are happy with their Backpack.
Obviously a larger awning gives you more outside room to stay out of the elements, but I'm not sure it is that big of a deal. We went from a pop-up with a 9' awning to a 19' awning. Yes, it is nice, but we didn't have any problems staying under the 9' one. I'm not sure if you can add/replace awnings at a later date or not. Someone else would have to answer that for you.
My overall impression of the Cruise Lite was that I liked it. Other than the previously mentioned storage, my only other concern was the siding. Even the dealer told us that if it were in a hail storm, we'd be better off with the laminated sidewalls. Oh, and the other thing that made us decide on the Rockwood, was the slide. At the time we didn't care so much about it. But once we walked through a non-slide and then one with a slide, we decided it was worth the extra cost and weight. But again, that is just our own opinion.
2004 Toyota Tundra Double Cab
2010 Rockwood 2701SS