I've been a flat-picking folk guy for 15 years. I've always and only played Martin guitars, most recently a Martin 000-15M (amazing guitar by the way). My local music store got in a couple of these Takamine GD20's and I thought I'd give 'em a try. I was blown away. For $299, this thing FEELS, SOUNDS, and PLAYS like a $2000 Martin. It's not even funny. I never touch entry-level Yamaha, Fender, or even Martin guitars because of how fake, plastic, and thin they sound. This guitar has warmth, personality, and tone WELL beyond it's price tag.
If I could give advice to ANY parent wanting to get their kid their first acoustic, I'd say this- buy this acoustic, and at the same time buy a LR Baggs either "Lyric" or "Anthem" pickup from Sweetwater in the same purchase, and have them install it before they ship you the guitar. That will literally give you an incredible acoustic WITH the best pickup system money can buy... ALL FOR UNDER $500.
Ask for Ben Porter at Sweetwater to help ya if you don't already have a rep.
Boom. You're welcome.