I just got my new RS two days ago and driving home today, the climate screen shows Climate Off but it is working fine using the manual controls. I found a similar thread under a Colorado forum. I read where it may be a bug and GM is working on it. I wanted to check here to see if anyone had a similar experience?
Unfortunately I don't think that they make these kind of things open to the public. But I'm sure if you mention to your dealer they can look it up right there. It's covered under warranty. Another one on the bulletin that hasn't been resolved is a metal ticking/rattling noise in the Bpanel driver side where the seatbelt is located. Apparently I'm not the only one with this issue either.
For cars that do not have climate control, the best way is to use the cooler/heater knob to control the temperature in your car. It works very well for me in my Swift and prevents the windows from fogging up if it gets too cold/hot.
However, this is only applicable or possible with cars that come with airconditioning and heating as standard.
Not sure about having it only display bars like that. The early ones (2003-2005) are known to have issues which first start as disappearing/intermittent segments and can eventually totally fail (mine's like that now). It doesn't stop the radio or climate control from working of course as you noticed.