So one of the things I was most amused with on our recently purchased 2016 Camry was the fact that it has freaking paddle shifters.
We didn’t buy it because we were under any illusions as to its sportiness, but I thought, “Neat, something to play with from time to time, I guess.” I assumed that they would let you manually shift the 6-speed automatic in a way many autos with sporty pretenses allow these days.
Turns out moving the console-mounted shifter from D to S doesn’t actually let you treat it like a quasi-manual. All it does is let you choose an upper limit for the gearbox. For example, the default setting when switching to S is known as S4. That means that the transmission will only shift up to 4th gear, locking out the fuel-saving 5th and 6th overdrive ratios. Moving the paddle shifters or gear shift up and down only changes that range to anywhere from S1 (locking out everything but 1st) to S6 (locking out nothing).
In other words, there’s no mode in which the transmission will—within reason—hold a gear until you tell it to upshift.
Now I don’t really have a problem with that since I didn’t buy the car for its manual shifting abilities, but the presence of paddle shifters pretty much gives you the impression that you can run it like a manual.