In a word: yes. But only if the outside temperature is below 55°F.
So to avoid this I’d keep AC off but turn on the cool air — temperature dial on full cool and blower on 2 or 3. If it’s say 70°F outside and you need some cold air, this should work. Right?
Sadly, my Golf Alltrack’s climate control system simply doesn’t let cool, outside air into the cabin… there’s some degree (get it? heh) of heating that happens to ambient air.
So the outside temperature needs to be somewhat cold to get cool air from the vents. If it’s above what I’ve found to be mid-50’s, you need to turn the AC on.
No Climate Control Leaks
On the other side of the coin, I was happy to find that the climate control system doesn’t “leak” warm air into the cabin. When the temperature dial is set to max heat, and the blower is off, no heat comes from the vents. This is a good thing.
The opposite is also true: if the dial is set to max cool and the system is off, there is no cold air from the vents. The system seems to be buttoned up (heh, another one) very well.
If this sounds like I’m heaping praise on something that should just work, I am. Many cars I’ve been in leak and allow hot or cold air in when the system is off.