(It should be noted that since 2012, the magazine has been spun off from Consumers Union and the website does now take ads, and in some instances, Consumer Reports has done evaluations of its advertisers and business partners - calling into question its impartiality).
They try to offer some half-assed long-term reporting based on comments made by subscribers but as we shall see, these comments are often from a small sample base and are often based on bizarre criteria. Once in a while they might offer long-term data on the few cars they actually keep and use. But they cannot afford to buy one of each car ever made and then systematically test them to destruction (and to really perform a proper test, you'd have to buy ten of each car ever made). It just isn't practical or possible for them to do.
Even if they could offer long-term reliability data in this manner, it would be of little use, unless you could go back in time and purchase the product. By the time long-term data is available, the product is no longer on the market. It is of no use to tell me that such-and-such a car has a long-term reliability issue ten years after the fact.
And it is not the first time Consumer Reports went overboard with their ratings. In 1968 they rated the AMC Ambassador as "unacceptable" because the unit they bought had a small defect that cause gasoline to exit the fuel vent under heavy braking and that they felt the headrests were too soft. Not exactly a scientific study.
The idea behind a "Consumer Reports" type magazine is a swell one. However, there really is no way to properly execute such a concept in any kind of meaningful way. And sadly, the folks at Consumer Reports - like so many other "save the world" people, like to laud how they are helping us little folks out as if we should kiss their ass for the privilege.
Sorry, but I find that "unacceptable". Consumer Reports is just another organization that is dedicated to self-preservation above all else. There really isn't much of the way of useful data in their magazine or website.