I always pay attention to the safety record of a car before a purchase. Cars are definitely the most dangerous things we interact with in our lives. Its worth spending an extra $1k to not-die.
SafeCarGuide has a set of crash test reports, from a range of places and a long history. EURO NCAP have a nice website with nicely presented reports.
ANCAP, the Australian version isn't too bad, but it doesn't test many cars.