Unfortunately the Warn Rep has no idea what he's talking about. Yes, the 2002 Sportage hubs are vacuum operated. So are 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. The IDENTICAL arrangement. Absolutely no difference.

Be assured that the Warn manual hubs will fit your 2002.

1998 Sportage - Gone.
2004 Honda Civic Coupe.
2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara - She got it.