Fuel economy, maintenance costs and technology sat alongside safety as the top concerns.
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Crash testing is getting tougher around the world, and modern cars are safer than ever. It appears buyers could be taking that for granted, with new research finding more than 50 per cent of buyers don't have a car's safety rating as a top-three priority when making a purchase.

According to a finder.com.au survey asking 2033 people what they'd prioritise alongside model and price in a new car purchase, 52 per cent had more pressing concerns than safety.

“It’s concerning that over half of Australians don’t consider safety the most important factor when looking to buy a new vehicle,” said Bernie Hassan, car insurance expert at finder.

Interestingly, men are less likely prioritise safety in their purchases: just 45 per cent of males had it in their top three, as opposed to 53 per cent of women. Men instead showed their preference for technology, with 30 per cent putting in-car tech atop their shopping list compared to just 23 per cent of female buyers.

Preferences were also split across generations. A whopping 59 per cent of Baby Boomers said safety was very important, compared to just 41 per cent of Generation Y buyers.

James Goodwin, CEO of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), suggested a high level of safety was becoming the assumed standard for modern car buyers

“The reality is that new car buyers, and the automotive industry, have made safety a priority with the top ten selling vehicles this year all having a five-star rating,” Goodwin told CarAdvice.

“Hopefully the results of this research means that in 2018 people are now expecting to be buying a safe car and that they don’t need to prioritise whether they or their children will survive a crash or not,” he elaborated.

“We urge people to buy the safest vehicle they can afford, new or used, and they can research and compare the safety ratings on the spot with our free app.”

Along with safety ratings, the most desirable feature in a new car was low maintenance costs, favoured by 48 per cent of respondents. Fuel economy was second (42 per cent), followed by technology (27 per cent) and security (14 per cent). Exterior colour was fifth, with 14 per cent of respondents putting it atop their list.

As a nation-wide survey, the finder data reveals a few interesting differences between buyers in each state. People living in Sydney were more likely than those in Perth to stump for parking cameras and sensors, for example, while more than half (53 per cent) of Brisbane buyers were concerned about running costs, compared to just 46 per cent of Melbournians.