There's a fine line between enjoyable gameplay and grinding. This line varies from person to person.
But you can't deny that, right now, the amount of effort required to get, say, a Keelback, is almost negligibly different from the effort needed to get a Krait or a Python. When the game released, a serious player could make about 1m/hour; right now, a player can easily make 60x that, even playing casually, and can make upwards of 200x that when playing seriously.
In my mind, there should be basically three stages of the game.
Small ships. You start with your Sidewinder, and basically just figure out the game. Then you make enough credits to upgrade to one of the 'premium' small ships, like a Cobra or a Dolphin, and actually play the game for a little while.
Medium ships. You finally make enough cash to buy a Krait Phantom, Mk2, or Python, and the real money making begins. You can do trade or combat on a competitive level now, but not quite as well as a large ship.
Large ships. You finally have enough cash to buy and outfit a large ship, and in doing so, join the big leagues.
But instead, what currently happens is more like, "Start with a sidewinder, get a Cobra kitted out for core mining, and jump straight to a Python. Use the Python for a few more hours until you can afford a large ship. Done."
This is largely because income has increased massively as time has passed, but prices have not been adjusted to compensate. Which isn't to imply that incomes/prices were ever really balanced in the first place; Having to farm for hundreds of hours to afford an Anaconda isn't ideal, either. But there must be a middle ground.
So, here's an idea; roll the prices of armor into the prices of ships. Dramatically reduce the price of the higher-tier armors, allowing players to swap between them more freely, and making ships better hull tanks by default, and increase the price of the ships to compensate.
So, for example, a T6 would go from about 1m to about 3.5m. A Krait would go from 44m to ~150m. And a Cutter would go from 200m to about 700m.
Bear in mind, this would come with the tradeoff of cheaper armor, so the overall price in the long term would be relatively the same. It would just prolong the time spent in your previous ship, and lower the incentive to just upgrade immediately, instead of sticking in your current ship for longer.
In retrospect, looking back at the way I played the game, I think I would have much better enjoyed the game if I'd been pressured to stay in the earlier ships for longer. I'd certainly have become a better pilot sooner, and in a game largely about flying ships, I think that anything that does that is probably a good thing.
I'm not entirely convinced though, so I'd be curious to hear other people's thoughts.