... has an identity crisis.
I am going to preface this by asking readers to please read entirely and, if you choose to respond, please do so by putting your "big boy" pants on.
There are tons of topics out there complaining about driving physics, car damage, etc. This is not one of them. This is merely a means to convey the issue at hand from a proper perspective.
The issue here is not so much the physics in my mind; rather, it's the fact GTA is inconsistent in how it handles the world in general.
Your health is low (realistic).
NPC health is low and can be KO'd by a single punch or knife strike (realistic).
Running speed is slow (realistic).
Bicycling speed is slow (realistic).
The slightest mistake on foot means death.
And now, we transition to cars:
Car health is incredibly high and you are basically invincible while moving.
Car damage takes forever to develop.
Cars cannot be permanently flipped (you can easily flip them back).
Cars are basically glued to the ground.
No matter if you like/dislike the driving in this game, you have to admit there's a disparity here. The transition from realistic to arcade is instant. And that, to some people, is problematic.
Consistency is the answer. I don't believe anyone who has played Saints Row 4 would be complaining about unrealistic physics, because the game is entirely unrealistic. However, this is not the case in GTA:V.
One moment, you die from taking 3 or 4 bullets from police on foot. The next, you're being chased for half an hour because police can't stop your car no matter their best efforts.
One moment, you die from being clipped by a car going 20 mph. The next, you're doing 90 degree turns in an SUV going full speed.
I urge everyone to think about this situation from this perspective. If the game was entirely unrealistic, I don't believe as many people would be complaining. But the game is filled with attempts at being realistic -- heck, look at the activity choices: Tennis, golf, yoga ... etc.
But then, you are taken from that "realistic" mindset and thrown into a completely unrealistic set of circumstances with no real reasoning as to why. It's as though on-foot gameplay and activities were developed by an entirely different studio than the driving mechanics.