Yup, that's pretty much exactly what I did. Ignoring the camera for the moment, I defined the position of the vehicle in the terrain at certain key frames, which basically defined a spline, which I could modify with the normal spline tools. Once the motion of the vehicle was defined, I was able to use this for all the views. For the follow view, I defined the camera as being a child of the vehicle in terms of position, as colclough said, and set its position behind the vehicle, but kept it's orientation a child of the "world". (I used this technique for early test renders, but the view of the rear of the ship was very fixed. For the final vid I moved the camera's position frame by frame, relative to the vehicle, so it followed the same actual path as the ship, just a little behind, and defined it as facing the vehicle. This felt more like a follow cam, less like a camera mounted on a stick poking out the back of the vehicle)
For the in-vehicle shots, I constructed a cockpit that was kinda like a film set, with no back wall. I made the vehicle invisible, defined the cockpit and camera as a child of the invisible vehicle (both position and orientation), and filmed the whole thing again, picking the bits I wanted later, and giving them post-production detail frame by frame in Corel.
Oh, and yeah, Terranim8or is the go for building terrains. It can build 3D terrains from greyscale bitmaps (white is high ground, black is low ground) as well as fractals and other cool stuff. It is a free download, is designed to work with Anim8or, and has loads of other cool features.
Good luck with your project, I like the way you think! I, and many others, are always ready to help with advice and tips, on this site as well as animanon.com and anim8or.org.