It’s simple: Add a driver type of soldier class to the game that has vehicle related skills like more damage, mobility, accuracy or self-repair. That way the vehicles kind of level up during the game. Also, if you bring a vehicle to a mission, you should be able to field a driver without taking up an extra slot. The driver can disembark anytime to gather resources or fight on foot, but the vehicle would no longer function on it’s own (the Synedrion vehicle would need a rework to host a driver). If a vehicle gets destroyed, the driver would survive but be wounded. Could be implemented as a driver/pilot combi class with the airwar DLC.
Driver as separate class?
I’m afraid that if he would level up as other classes, then vehicle in his hands would be too powerful after him reaching level 7. Unless he would have really underpowered skills compared to other classes.
Next problem would be attributes. Why would you need to increase strength or speed for such soldier? I see no reason because vehicles have their own durability and speed. Only Willpower could be utilized for some special vehicle skills.
In the end I would prefer that developers would implement vehicle modifications like armor attachments, which could make vehicles better in the long run. No driver implementation required.
I had been toying with the idea for a driver, or controller like class that could operate vehicles, but you do run into the problems Yokes talks about, a lot of stats are redundant for this class. so it would have to operate in a completely different way they a standard trooper.
Basically turning the vehicle into a “inventory only” trooper itself, with inventory and equipment slots where it can equip custom weapons, ammo boxes or bolt on armor plates, or save spots for crew carry capacity/crew stowage space (APC, light fighting vehicle or effectively a resupply truck) would be a better option in my opinion, as it uses the existing structure already in place with mainly graphical changes and number juggling to get all the equipment to function.
even then balancing the thing would be difficult, they have to be a worthwhile addition, but not dominate the field. the bread and butter should still be the soldiers back and forth with the pandorans.