My wife spends much time driving, sometimes with my son on the back seat. And this city is a very hard place to drive (No wonder why there are so many colmados: They need these "third places" just to get rid of the stress of driving). With a SUV I would feel more reassured she will be ok.
Among the vehicles I like and are within budget, there are some Jeep Grand Cherokees, some Isuzu Troopers, some Nissan Pathfinders and some Mitsubishis Montero. Which is better seems to be largely a matter of taste.