This article presents a two-dimensional steady viscous flow simulation past circular and square cylinders at low Reynolds numbers (based on the diameter) by the finite volume method with a non-orthogonal body-fitted grid. Diffusive fluxes are discretized using central differencing scheme, and for convective fluxes upwind and central differencing schemes are blended using a ‘deferred correction’ approach. A simplified pressure correction equation is derived, and proper under-relaxation factors are used so that computational cost is reduced without adversely affecting the convergence rate. The governing equations are expressed in Cartesian velocity components and solution is carried out using the SIMPLE algorithm for collocated arrangement of variables. The mesh yielding grid-independent solution is then utilized to study, for the very first time, the effect of the Reynolds number on the separation bubble length, separation angle, and drag coefficients for both circular and square cylinders. Finally, functional relationships between the computed quantities and Reynolds number (Re) are proposed up to Re = 40. It is found that circular cylinder separation commences between Re= 6.5-6.6, and the bubble length, separation angle, total drag vary as Re, Re-0.5, Re-0.5 respectively. Extrapolated results obtained from the empirical relations for the circular cylinder show an excellent agreement with established data from the literature. For a square cylinder, the bubble length and total drag are found to vary as Re and Re-0.666, and are greater than these for a circular cylinder at a given Reynolds number. The numerical results substantiate that a square shaped cylinder is more bluff than a circular one.