I agree with OP's sentiment that it's pretty dry and lacks any sort of personality - though I must admit that I'm not a car guy. I was hoping they'd finally fix the 3rd person camera or add an option to lock the horizontal view to the direction of the car (Gran Turismo fixed that since 5) but it's the same as previous Forza and Horizon games, so playing in 3rd person chase cam still feels like controlling an unresponsive/laggy drunken camera instead of the car. You can definitely get used to it but it's an inferior experience IMHO.
Visually disappointing as well. I generally don't care about graphics but since I didn't care about much else in the game I was hoping to at least enjoy the scenery. I have a pretty beefy CPU with a modest GPU (rtx 2080) which I figured would be good enough for high settings at 1080p (with DLSS) but noooo... At "auto" settings it's one of the fugliest racing games I've played. It can't hit consistent 60fps at medium preset at 1080p with raytracing disabled so I have to use low setting or leave it at "auto" which makes everything look like blurry mess. It's especially disappointing because Forza 7 and Horizon 5 looked way better and ran better on older machines.
I'm still playing it mostly due to sunk cost (didn't buy it since it's on Game Pass but I still spent 100+ GB of bandwidth) but I can't imagine sticking with it for much longer.