It's ridiculous it's a pretty short distance actually but if you travel during the day it can easily take 5 hours.
Yeah, Łódź is still a pain in the neck. Once the A1 opens, it'll be much more pleasant - especially as there won't be (at least until 2018) any tolls between Warsaw and Wrocław.
Road trips in Poland are not for the faint of heart
Depends which roads, really. The A1 around Katowice is immense fun for instance.
liberalism seems to work a lot better there than the larger Western countries.
Not in some ways. The Czechs are totally incapable of constructing roads for instance, so it's highly unlikely that the R52 will be finished to the Austrian border (it's the main road to/from Poland towards Vienna and Croatia) anytime soon, and they haven't got a clue how to get the D11 built to connect to the Polish S3.
The country has been stagnating for years - Slovakia isn't far behind at all, and if it wasn't for the large rural populations in both PL and SK, they would be ahead of the Czechs by now. I like the country, but it has some severe issues.