Operational management and prediction of water quantity and quality often requires a spatially meaningful simulation of environmental flows and storages at the catchment scale. In this study, the performance of a fully distributed conceptual hydrologic model was evaluated based on the HBV (Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning) and TACD (Tracer Aided Catchment model – Distributed) model concept in the meso-scale Fyrisån catchment in the Central Swedish lowlands. For a more spatially explicit representation of runoff generation processes of small landscape elements such as wetlands, a new sub-grid parameterization scheme was implemented in the model. In addition, a simple flow distribution and lake retention routine was introduced to better conceptualize the flow routing. During intensive model evaluation and comparison the model underwent conventional split-sample and proxy-basin tests. In this process, shortcomings of the model in the transferability of parameter sets and in the spatial representation of runoff generating processes were found. It was also demonstrated how a detailed comparison with a lumped benchmark model and the additional use of synoptic stream flow measurements allowed further insights into the model performance. It could be concluded that such a thorough model assessment can help to detect shortcomings in the spatial representation of the model and help facilitate model development.