I am a parent of two teenage daughters and I feel that small cars should be safe also. The car drives well and the steering is crisp enough to add security on mountain roads. The ride is fair on confort and leg room is just enough for 5'-10" people. The Toyota Corolla is a great little car, but the base model is hard to find with air bags. We finally found one with the side curtain and side seat air bags without the top end LE accessories. Consumer Reports recommended buying the Toyota Corolla, but only with the air bag option. It is not something I hope to test, but it is reassurring to know they will save a life when needed. The brakes stop the car with enough safety as well.
The air bags of course, but the radio/CD player is nice as well. Pressing the TEXT button is a nice option when the car is parked and you have time to read all the information.
This may not be something that I can speak to from experience, but I hope that more consumers will demand safety in small cars and manufacturers will place them in even their most basic model. Our children deserve safe, fuel efficent vehicles and Toyota should be leading the way.