If your cabin temperature is close to your climate control setting (accounting for heat from the sun as well), the fan speed will go to the minimum setting. If you don't want the A/C on, just press the button to disable it and keep everything else on Auto. Keep in mind that A/C also helps window defrosting by drying the air that comes out of your vents - it's not just used for summer cooling. As per the user manual, the compressor will not come on if the outside temperature is below freezing.
But when I do anything - shut off the a/c, adjust the fan, direct air to my feet...anything, the 'auto' light goes off.
I've had auto climate cars before - and they let me adjust fan speed and which vents to direct air flow - this car doesn't even tell me where it is sending air and what the fan setting is on. I would at least like that.
Is there a configuration setting that I can set for the car?
First, congrats on your new Regal! Every "auto" climate control vehicle I can remember does turn off the auto setting when you start making changes manually. That is normal. As for the rest... which display do you have?... do have navigation?
The "auto" light only comes on for full automatic mode. If you press, for example, the A/C button to turn off the compressor, then only that goes to manual mode. Fan speed and output settings are still auto. If you want everything automatic but want to direct air only to your feet, press that button, the Auto light will go off, but fan speed is still adjusted automatically.
Personally, I have A/C set to "remember last setting" and I have it on all three outputs (feet, face, windshield). I used to have it on face only, but it would go full blast on my face when starting the car. Directing the air everywhere reduces the air to your face. Fan speed is automatic.
there are 3 buttons to change air flow directions on the the temp read out. yes as soon as you hit something else it goes to manual mode. the fan speed is displayed in between the 2 climate numbers when you press the fan icon buttons.