While I haven't had a chance to play GTA V yet, I did want to make a few comments regarding the handling, and damage to cars.
First off damage. In GTA IV Damage was love / hate relationship for me, and I'm sure some will agree with me on this. On the one hand I always found endless fun in seeing how much abuse a car could take in IV. Nothing more fun then doing 100km/hr and t-boning another car.
On the flip side... I hated it. In IV you had to drive as if your car was made of glass. Damage was very easy to accumulate on cars, even from the slightest fender bender. How many times were you driving that favourite car, or just had it re-painted to fix it up only to have a small fender bender which caused half the car to crumple. Yes, the damage was very fun and realistic, but it was also a hair pulling experience because of how easy it was to cause damage at such low speeds.
At first I was a bit disappointing when I started to read this thread, because of how much I enjoyed the ability in IV to damage cars, and now reading it's slightly gone. But this is also a blessing because if I finally find THAT car I want, or have my car repaired, it infuriates me that a simple fender bender would cause sooo much damage.
As far as the handling, I haven't play V so I can't comment, but I will say a few things on IV's handling.
Again I would have to say it was a love hate thing.... I liked the ability to pull handbrake turns in intersections, probably my favourite part, but at the same time the cars did have a major boat effect to them and the suspension felt super loose.
You can't and won't please everyone, especially with a game of this magnitude.
From the sounds of it, R* has taken previous games, complaints, and positive things into consideration and tried to accommodate as many as they could. You're never going to have that perfect game, and if it IS perfect for you, it's not for others.
I don't know. I thought having car insurance was a good way of dealing with some of those issues. And people complain there is nothing to spend money on in these games. I think car customization, tuning, repair, insurance, etc seems like a good money sink. But why even bother buying insurance or upgrading a car with armor when it is already nearly indestructible. I am exaggerating a bit... but not much. I spent what seemed like quite a while smashing a car into things with no exciting outcome or very noticeable damage. I just took it back to a garage and it was fixed for free.
GTA IV was over the top damage... and I don't want to drive around thinking my car is made of glass, and that's exactly how I felt because it was way too easy to damage cars. Even at low speed the damage would be exorbitant. Remember this is a game, and although OK damage can be very fun, I also don't want my car looking like an accordion driving from A to B. And don't say I should drive more carefully.... lol that was impossible in IV, and too many idiots would tap your car themselves only to leave your back end hanging off. It had it's moments, but if what I'm hearing is true, i'm glad it's been toned down.
Now if only I could play it lol... my copy is sitting in front of the TV calling my name... but kid duty calls first.