The Stampede VXL is a blast, I own one myself. I wouldn't exactly recommend this for a 1st timer as it's a hairy ride even with experience. The hardest thing with driving the Stampede is trying to keep the front wheels on the ground.
The E-Maxx is much wider making it more stable, plus it is slower and easier to learn with and can always be upgraded with better motors and batteries. Both are very durable. Only problems I've really seen out of either is blowing off the shock caps from big landings.