I don't understand the praise regarding the driving physics. For me, there was a clear downgrade from 2015.
Chaining drifts is almost impossible, weight transfer is non-existant (no scandinavian flicks) and the understeer is abismal (worse than 2015).
And don't get me started on the off-road physics, the cars are uncontrollable.
Despite all of this, the general gameplay is enjoyable and has some improvements (the different classes, the collectibles and challenges).
Not disappointed with the game, but frustated, yes.
I think it was praised for just being more consistent, weird crabwalking like in NFS 2015 is more rare. Heat improved on the physics a lot more and I find it the most enjoyable brake to drift physics in NFS since HP2010.