The paper describes the validation of a newly developed very LES (VLES) method for the simulation of turbulent separated flow. The new VLES method is a unified simulation approach that can change seamlessly from Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes to DNS depending on the numerical resolution. Four complex test cases are selected to validate the performance of the new method, that is, the flow past a square cylinder at Re = 3000 confined in a channel (with a blockage ratio of 20%), the turbulent flow over a circular cylinder at Re = 3900 as well as Re = 140,000, and a turbulent backward-facing step flow with a thick incoming boundary layer at Re = 40,000. The simulation results are compared with available experimental, LES, and detached eddy simulation-type results. The new VLES model performs well overall, and the predictions are satisfactory compared with previous experimental and numerical results. It is observed that the new VLES method is quite efficient for the turbulent flow simulations; that is, good predictions can be obtained using a quite coarse mesh compared with the previous LES method. Discussions of the implementation of the present VLES modeling are also conducted on the basis of the simulations of turbulent channel flow up to high Reynolds number of Reτ = 4000. The efficiency of the present VLES modeling is also observed in the channel flow simulation. From a practical point of view, this new method has considerable potential for more complex turbulent flow simulations at relative high Reynolds numbers. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.