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2022 Nissan Frontier production begins

This redesigned midsize truck is rollin' off the line in Canton, Mississippi, and is scheduled to go on sale late this summer.

2022 Nissan Frontier Production - assembly line
Looks like this Frontier is nearly done.

Rejoice, midsize truck enthusiasts, a new offering is nigh! On Thursday, production of the comprehensively overhauled 2022 Nissan Frontier commenced at the automaker's factory in Canton, Mississippi. This well-known nameplate has been screwed together in this Deep South facility since 2012.

Helping build the new Frontier, Nissan employs collaborative robots, or cobots for short. These machines help automate the assembly process, improving worker safety in the process and reducing strain. Cobots help complete repetitive tasks (there are lots of these on an assembly line), improving vehicle quality and streamlining plant efficiency.

The midsize-truck market is an unusual one. Aside from, perhaps, the Honda Ridgeline, none of the pickups in this segment are outstanding. The Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado are good, but nothing about them will rock your socks. Similarly, the Toyota Tacoma is hugely popular and well-respected, but again, it's not particularly comfortable or nice to drive. As for the outgoing Frontier, it's older than the hills, dating back to around 2005, which in automotive terms means it's absolutely ancient.

Hopefully the 2022 Frontier will change all this. With rugged new looks, it may be the most attractive midsize truck around. Available with rear- or four-wheel drive, this Nissan mid-sizer features a 3.8-liter V6, which the automaker actually introduced in the outgoing Frontier, an unusual move. It's relatively rare -- though not unprecedented -- for a new powertrain to launch in an old vehicle. That engine is smooth running and punchy, delivering 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. A smart nine-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment.

With loads more technology, fresh exterior styling and a drastically improved interior, the 2022 Nissan Frontier looks like a winner. Of course, we can't say for sure whether or not this midsize truck will be a homerun, but our hopes are high. Look for the new Frontier at dealerships late this summer. 

Now playing: Watch this: 2022 Nissan Frontier: Hands-on with the midsize truck...