xrichx saidIf I wanted some feedback on the reliability of a particular car, I'd much rather check a car forum to get some real world experiences from actual owners, rather than from CR.
But you're going to hear mostly from the unhappy ones, there could be an overwhelming number of happy owners who don't bother using those sites.
I research a number of sources. CR is good for gathering statistical data on car reliability. I trust their subjective judgment less about how their test drivers think a car "feels" and when they evaluate its ergonomics. Those are more personal decisions I make by driving the car myself, and from knowing what my own practical driving needs, patterns & priorities are.
I do put a lot of credence in the CR tests of household things like cleaners, for clothes and dishes. They run hundreds of samples, and evaluate them objectively with lab equipment in ways I never could do myself. I do buy the CR top-rated products in those areas.
Their appliance reliability stats are also important to me, as reported by actual owners. But sometimes I'll disagree with their "Best Buy" recommendation, and go with the more expensive model that has essentially the same excellent working components as the less equipped version, but adds a few features that are more important to me than they were to CR.