The physics are indeed very barebones, which is usually a deal breaker for me but I'll tell you what, I can't stop playing the damn game.
Problems with seemingly random damage when taking identical obstacles at similar speeds sure are annoying, just like some cars handle like quads and give you little to no feedback only to start randomly drifting at 150 km/h for seemingly no reason (Ari Vatanen's 205 is frustrating as hell and by far the worst offender).
However the feeling of covering MASSIVE distances is honestly amazing for me. Getting lost happens, but then you'll start to hit periods where you're just swallowing miles in perfect focus and it becomes nearly magical. The navigation is well made and if you concentrate and keep focus, you hit that zen where everything falls into place. I really love that feeling.
I would recommend trying a few cars before settling in on one.
I play with a gamepad, I do not have a steering wheel setup.