On one hand, if they screw up a bumper backing into something, it's the cheapest and easiest modern car to replace the bumper on. On the other hand, jeeps are kinda top heavy.
My son is 14 now and I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently. Yes, preferably 2 door manual transmission for the following reasons:
1) manual means less F-ing around with his phone
2) manual means dumb ass friends probably won’t be capable of driving
3) a vehicle still meant to be worked on by owner and he can learn some self reliance
4) 2 door will limit the comfort in the back for friends to want to use his vehicle
5) a first vehicle should be something memorable and have a limited cool factor - mine an ‘85 Bronco II which I cared for like it a Ferrari at the time. I still have fond memories of adventures in that thing.
Now, that all said it should be used. My kid has been wheeling with me for a few years now and gets that a wrangler is for getting anywhere but done so at “it’s pace” and not driven like anything else out there. He understands it isn’t an F1 or WRC racer and will roll if driven like one.
the two vehicles on my list are a wrangler and Subaru of some sort mainly for points 1 & 2 above.