Fluid flow and heat transfer characteristics past four elliptic cylinders arranged in square configuration are numerically investigated in this study. An in-house finite element method code based on streamline upwind Petrov - Galerkin algorithm has been used for simulations of two-dimensional, incompressible and laminar flow of air. Analyses are carried out by changing geometric parameters such as spacing ratio, axis ratio and incident angle. Results in terms of vorticity and temperature contours, Strouhal number, drag and lift coefficients and Nusselt number are studied for all cases. These results show that fluid flow patterns are strongly influenced by geometric parameters, based on which flow can be categorized into different types. A critical spacing ratio is found for some of the configurations, where a steep increase in drag coefficient is encountered. From this study, it is observed that incident angle 22.5 degree gives a higher heat transfer rate compared to the other two configurations (0 and 45 degree). Also, elliptic cylinders (axis ratio of 0.8 and 0.5) have similar Nusselt number value with less drag force compared to circular cylinders (axis ratio of 1.0) which justifies the utilization of elliptic cylinders as an alternative for circular ones. © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.