I like Nuts and Bolts, but I hate the vehicles. Thanks to its loose physics engine, I struggle to navigate vehicles efficiently and they usually end up bumping into things and falling onto their side thanks to how high the default wheels are. Very frustrating.
To compensate, I play Nuts and Bolts in my own special way, following my own rules on how to play it, which makes it more fun for me. I've got pictures too!
I ignore the vehicles almost entirely while exploring. Running around and jumping as Banjo is satisfying, and finding notes, challenges or Jinjos in each of these huge worlds feels very rewarding, and I can exploit old platforming tricks, like attacking off an edge, then jumping and attacking again to get more air time.
If I need to reach a place that 'requires' a vehicle, I quickly build/summon one that has no engines, but only gadgets, like the spring or an egg cannon. Think of it like being able to use Banjo's old special moves from the previous games (like the Shock Spring Pad) anywhere you want. If I don't have the right vehicle parts to get to a particular place, I need to win/find some so I can. This encourages exploration in Showdown Town. The more parts you find, the better.
I only use vehicles for challenges, and they are best for races, which is fine by me, really. They feel like minigames during the exploration part. On my last couple of playthroughs of Nuts and Bolts, I've built a unique vehicle using the most basic and easy-to-get parts (until later stages) for each specific challenge in the game so that whenever I play the game again, I don't have to spend 2 hours designing a new one every time. If these unique vehicles are missing more parts than I own, I will need to beat Grunty or explore more of Showdown Town to acquire them. Again, this encourages me to explore.
However, there are some challenges in Nuts and Bolts where you don't even need vehicles.
For the challenge where you protect Mr. Fit from the Gruntbots, I've constructed a sort-of turtle shell structure to place over Mr. Fit as he does his jog. It's light enough for him to move it by himself. It's equipped with that electric shield thing and an egg turret on the top to kill off the Gruntbots (especially the exploding ones). If Mr. Fit is struggling to move within the shell, especially up hills, I will give the shell a push or lift it up a little bit. He will eventually warp out of it if you take too long though, exposing himself to attacks, so help him whenever you can. That's the rules!
There's another challenge in Logbox 720 where you're supposed to carry that pill though the glubber underwater. Rather than using a Sub-vehicle to deliver it, I carried the pill using a flying machine to the top where the big pool of glubber is, removed the pill, abandoned the vehicle and carried it with Kazooie's wrench and swam through the glubber with it to its destination. You gotta swim fast and not take a wrong turn! There's a lot of tension this way, because of the risk of drowning and getting that trophy in time.
There is one more challenge in the Terrarium of Terror where you need to use a sail-powered car to drive up a spiral to the destination up high, but I hated driving that thing so much, with how slow it is and how hard it is to steer that I just jumped out and platformed my way to the goal, which ended up being faster anyway. You don't even need the stupid vehicle "required" to beat the challenge!
Also, there was one time during a Grunty challenge where I jumped onto Gruntilda's vehicle and forced her out of her seat by attacking her while she was driving. Epic!! (Pretty hard to do though)
It's possible to score Trophies playing certain challenges like this.
I admit, it's kind of sad, pretending that Nuts and Bolts is a Platformer, and it's still not as fun as Kazooie or Tooie (might even be boring for some this way. Additionally, there's no consequence for dying outside a challenge either) but for me, Nuts and Bolts is far more fun playing it like a 'Platformer' than playing it like how the developers intended, because exploring by using vehicles feels like a cop-out and they are a pain to drive anyway, no thanks to the absurd number of props littered all over each level. It's an ironic waste, how Banjo on-foot is actually executed better than main focus of the game (though the Jiggoseum is a terribly boring place to explore on foot. Use vehicles for that level instead).
Next time you guys play Nuts and Bolts, try it my way, maybe!