I can't say anything about the steel rods, but surprising however it may seem, I've seen Santro to have survived better in accidents than any other in its counterparts.
You didn't mention Santro in your previous thread. If you're not restricted to brand new cars, I strongly suggest a Santro 2004.
Just make sure you get the one with powersteering. Its steering is harder than any car I have driven.
If you're planning to spend as much as 9 lakh for a new Cultus, there are a few other options which are better buys than a new cultus for the same price.