Are you talking about mechanically? If so, there may be something off with your game. I think the CCR playfield flows amazing. The loop shots are so smooth. It's so fast I can have trouble stringing shots together once the ball gets cookin. I'd get to the bottom of this first.
As for the polish / immersion of CCR, I can't really disagree with your statements. Of the 3 main cornerstone games, CCR is a distant 3rd for me behind Lexy and Heist. But RitR is great and really makes choosing the Lexy vs. CCR playfield more challenging. I heard from a little birdy that there may be something major and unrelated to the existing games coming out for the CCR playfield. If true, it could definitely breath new life into what I think is still a fun playfield layout.
As for CCR specifically, it was originally just the Arcade mode. Gerry was going for the Mario Kart thing, and I never really felt like it worked. The game always felt flat, and as I watched early development, I didn't like how certain features would get removed (like multiball) in favor of trying to replicate the kart racing aspect.
To me, the Career mode is a huge improvement over the Arcade mode. It added completely new rules and objectives. It's fun. But let's face it, it was an afterthought based on feedback about Arcade mode, and presumably was therefore not given the amount of attention that Lexy and Heist got in terms of fleshing out the experience. My big gripe with everything CCR is the lack of personality.
Both Lexy and Heist have lots of characters with really good voice acting and enough story and surroundings to make you feel part of the world. CCR has always felt so thin because there isn't any story or connection to who's in it or what's going on. You jump in by picking a character, but they all seem to race the same to me, and other than the occasional exclamation, you don't ever see or hear them. So character selection is very vanilla. And this continues with the gameplay. What am I racing for? No story there at all. Before I can race, I need to earn money by completing jobs, but what are these jobs? Hitting a few green shots isn't pulling me into whatever the side job is. Same for time trials and multiballs. If there was a Lexy / Heist level story and personality to CCR, I think it would have a totally different reception.
Given that the company vision was kart racing first, and the fact that they've coded a "full" CCR twice, I'm guessing it's unlikely they will go back and give it the fleshing out it needs to be a really good game. It's a shame. I really like the concept of a true racing game, but you don't get as much of that vibe as I'd like. I'm guessing they won't cost-justify additional expansion of this title, but I really with they would.
That said, if there's truth to another game coming to this playfield, it could really help take advantage of P3's flowiest layout. I can't wait.