My Dad bought me my 1st car, 2nd car, and split my 3rd car with me.
1) 1984 Pontiac 2M4 (Iron Duke) - This car taught me many lessons on how to work on cars, and how poorly made an 80s America car was.
2) 1993 Honda Civic LX - This car taught me how reliable a Honda driven on the street is, and how a car can appreciate when going from 125k miles to 225k miles while being abused by a teenager.
3) 2000 Ford Contour SVT - This car taught me that in 2000 American cars were made just as poorly as they were in 1984.
I would go with a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Fit for your son.