Well this is disappointing. All they've really done is make racers base stats higher in acceleration and handling while making kart parts subtract more acceleration and handling. Overall this just leads to the same combos (Blue Falcon + Slick is still the best for heavyweights, who are still better than everything else) and results in hardly any difference, if anything this makes the balance worse. Dry Bowser and Wario with Blue Falcon + Slick + Plane Glider are going to be abused online, just watch.
Even I could've do better with the stat balancing, as I've made some various roster concepts that ensure that everyone gets treated equally with their stat totals (excluding the mini-turbo stat).
More minor but I like how Metal and Badwagon got a buff and can essentially be a better Circuit Special + Slick depending on acceleration. I also like what they've done to the gliders. That's about all that's better though. Next Mario Kart needs to be more like Mario Kart 7 in the balance department.
I'm not too sure how the Badwagon's new stats will help it out. After all, no vehicle could ever drift on normal off-road terrain in Mario Kart 8, so unless the traction and/or off-road mechanics have been changed, I'm a bit skeptical about how the new stats will work out in the long run.
But what really caught my eye is how some of the gliders can actually weaken the ground speed stat now. In fact, the changes have made one heck of an impact on my primary combination from Mario Kart 8.
Rosalina + Biddybuggy + Azure Roller + Parachute (MK8 vs. MK8D)
Acceleration: 4.75 vs. 4.75
Slower and lighter, while having better handling and traction. Acceleration doesn't change, however.
Also why the heck is Bowser Jr. lighter than Toad
You think that's fishy, Lemmy's traction is lower than that of some of the heavier characters. Mario Kart 8's trend was lowering the traction stat as you go up in weight classes.
Anyway, even though Mario Kart 8 lacked stat diversity, it's apparently a lot better with the character stat balancing than what Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is doing.