The 2013 Toyota Matrix is, among small cars, a relatively safe pick, with good crash-test results and a safety-feature list that's on par with other models in this class.
The Matrix gets top 'good' ratings from the IIHS in frontal and side impact, as well as rear impact. The related Corolla has been a Top Safety Pick, although the Matrix hasn't been rated for roof strength. It also hasn't been rated by the federal government.
Features are respectable but not standout in any way; front side and side-curtain airbags are included, as are anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, on all 2013 Matrix models.
One thing you'll want to consider on the test drive is that depending on your height, rearward visibility could prove challenging, due to the rather narrow window openings.