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Re: A Car Below $26k, here\'s your requirements...

Honda Accord V6 4 doors would be my first pick for you. It has decent engine, interior, fuel milage, and extremely good resale value. However, the car looks ugly IMHO.

Nissan Altima 3.5 would be my second pick for you. It has a great V6, decent looking exterior, and ok fuel milage. However, I would not purchase this car either with cheapo interior and ugly tail lights.

Mazda 6 would be my third choice for you. It has ok engine, ok look, decent interior, and decent fuel milage. However, if you want it, I would suggest you to go no less than top-of-the-line model with aero kit. Anything less than that looks extremely plain IMHO.

Honda CRV EX would be my fourth choice for you. It has decent engine, decent interior (if you like rock hard seating), decent space, great fuel milage, and excellent resale value. I think this would be the best one to fit your requirments. However, you can't buy this car under MSRP unless miracle happened.

Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute would be my fifth and last choice for you. They have decent engine (3L V6), great interior (extremely comfy seating), luxurious (in XLT/Limited/SE models), large space, decent fuel milage, and decent resale value (compare it with CRV EX, for some reasons, Ford cars sucks on resale but Ford trucks retain value nicely.). As for negatives, you would have to live with possible recalls (You should be used to it by now.
) and Ford's Quality Care.

As for cars you listed...

Element - cool styling, excellent utility, and decent fuel milage. At the same time, you will need to live with scratches on those plastic fenders, weak performance (0-60 4x4/Auto well above 10sec), paying MSRP, and certain folks laughing at your car on the road (I won't

TSX - cool styling, excellent fuel milage, and decent interior. At the same time, you will need to live with small interior (I saw so many guys trying to get in and out of that car at the car show today!), hard as rock Honda signature seating, the fact that 26K gets you a NA 4 banger, and paying MSRP (or more!).

Mini - If you are over 6 feet tall, don't even think about it. You would have enough workout everyday by just trying to get in and out of the car. By the way, it can barely carry anything except ONE passanger!

Well, there you have it. All of the above is my opinion on these cars. I would suggest you to do some leg works to find exactly what you want. Others and myself can only tell you "what we think and what we like". Only you can determine "what you want and what you like". Goodluck.
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