© 2019 American Physical Society. Photoelectron momentum distributions (PEMDs) generated in strong-field ionization of randomly oriented CO2 molecules by intense infrared laser pulses at 1300-, 1450-, and 1650-nm wavelengths are measured experimentally and analyzed theoretically. The experimental PEMDs extracted along the outermost backward rescattering caustic are well reproduced by theoretical calculations based on the recently derived factorization formula with an analytical returning photoelectron wave packet (RWP). The sensitivity of the theoretical results to the target structure models used in the calculations is investigated. It is shown that RWPs obtained in the single-active-electron (SAE) approximation and by the Hartree-Fock method have only minor differences. On the other hand, differential cross sections (DCSs) for elastic scattering of a photoelectron on the parent molecular ion calculated by ab initio, SAE, and independent-atom model methods are considerably different. This difference almost disappears after averaging over molecular orientations, so the present experiment does not enable us to discriminate between the different target structure models. However, we show that such a discrimination should become possible by measuring PEMD with aligned molecules. This will provide an access to the rich target structure information contained in the DCS.