I don't think DiRT Rally is the jump forward that DiRT 2 was when it first came out, and in some ways, it fails to impress. If you're looking big picture, there's a lot to appreciate. The environmental diversity is really something to behold, and considering the sport we're discussing, that's no small feat. Rally tracks have a certain look to them; while straightaways are a part of every racing game, this particular discipline doesn't have much to do with flat surfaces. Subtle changes in the track must be compensated for, and every shift in the terrain is beautifully telegraphed. Not to mention the helpful assists that accompany the instructions from your co-driver. Topping it all off is the attractive stable of rally cars and the multitude of sweet liveries to go with them.
DiRT Rally is music to the ears throughout, and I'm not really speaking about the soundtrack, though it absolutely gets the job done. Most of the menu-browsing material is some variation of instrumental house and trance. Cars sound fantastic, though not being a hardcore rally fan myself, I can't speak to the accuracy of any of the sound effects. However, having been in an accident before, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Codemasters gets impact noises right on the money. Special praise is reserved for co-drivers, whose steady instructions initially sound like a monotone lecture in a foreign language. However, through immersion and good old classical conditioning, you'll get the hang of it all.