The performance of the standard k-epsilon, Wilcox high-Reynolds-number k-omega, Wilcox low-Reynolds-number k-omega and Smagorinsky's subgrid scale (SGS) turbulence models is examined against the flow around a circular cylinder 0.37 diameter above a rigid wall. The governing equations are solved using finite difference method in a non-orthogonal boundary-fitted curvilinear coordinate system. A mesh dependence study for the four turbulence models is carried out on computational meshes with different densities. In addition, the performance of the k-omega models with either wall function or no-slip boundary condition on the cylinder surface is examined on the finest mesh. It is found that the SGS model over-predicts the shedding of vortices from the cylinder and is sensitive to the computational mesh and the model constant C-s used. The standard k-epsilon and the Wilcox k-omega models predict the mean velocity field quite well but generally under-predict the velocity and hydrodynamic force oscillations using wall functions on the cylinder surface. It is also found that the Wilcox k-omega models with the no-slip boundary condition on the cylinder surface give better predictions on the shedding of vortices than their counterparts using the wall function boundary condition. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.