If he's not a car guy, then my advice would be to avoid German cars. They cost a boatload to fix, and they develop weird problems that can be costly. Don't buy a VW, Audi, BMW or Mercedes.
One car that might be a good one to suggest: the Geo/Chevy Prizm. This was a rebadged Toyota Corolla that GM sold for a while. It's reliability record was even better than the Corolla itself for a few years, oddly enough. They are great little cars that run forever and never seem to need repairs.