The current-generation Hyundai Accent may still be a relatively fresh face in its segment, but the company's engineers have already given it a heart transplant. For the 2020 model year, the subcompact sedan gets a new engine, and it's a revolutionary one too.

Remember when Hyundai announced they made an engine with continuously variable valve timing? That's the engine they put in the 2020 Accent. They call this tech Continuously Variable Valve Duration or CVVD. It's installed in their new line of four-cylinder engines dubbed the Smartstream.

Hyundai Accent gets a new heart for 2020 image

How does it work? Typically, an engine's variable valve timing system activates at a certain RPM. With CVVD, Hyundai says the valves constantly adjusts to the engine load, so it can also stay partially open and can fully be engaged quicker when needed. So instead of the valves waiting for the engine to hit a certain RPM, CVVD is reading the situation and deciding whether to engage or not.

For now, it's the non-turbocharged version that will do service in the Accent, at least for the US market. Hyundai is claiming that there are fuel economy gains with this new mill. The old 1.6-liter mill returned 13.6 kilometers per liter but the new one is now rated at 15.3 kilometers per liter, according to the company. That is an increase of 11 percent. Also helping boost its economy is a new continuously variable transmission which Hyundai dubbed IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission).

As for the engine, it puts out 120 PS and 153 Nm of torque. It can be paired to either a six-speed manual or the aforementioned IVT. But while it's for the US-spec Accent, it is more than likely we'll get this engine eventually, possibly in the the heavily restyled Elantra or a turbocharged version of it in the Sonata, if Hyundai Philippines decides to bring in the latter. Boosted, the same engine puts out 180 PS and 265 Nm of torque.