Did it bother you back then that there wasn't really a damage model in GTA SanAndreas?
Cars could deform when you crashed against something (which wasn't really a great improvement from GTA Vicecity), boxes, fences and hydrants could break and the ground turned black after a explosion, but thats pretty much it. Bullet holes went missing completely and if you look at games like Mafia 1 or Half life, which got released years earlier, then you notice that this was a pretty a big lack of technology.
I could imagine that they couldn't bring this feature since GTA SanAndreas was a massive game for PS2 standards. Still, i always felt like something was missing when my car didn't show any physical damage after taking hundreds of shots during drive-bys.