Petter Solberg followed up his fastest time on the Rally Mexico qualifying stage with a win on the short Guanajuato street stage that opened the event on Thursday evening.
The Ford driver was 0.4 seconds quicker than second-placed Sebastien Loeb's Citroen.
The whole top 10 was within 1.9s over the one-kilometre stage, with Mads Ostberg putting his Adapta Ford third, just ahead of Mikko Hirvonen in the second works Citroen, Jari-Matti Latvala's Ford and Ott Tanak's M-Sport Ford.
Chris Atkinson began his World Rally Championship comeback for Monster Ford with seventh place.
The full-length stages commence on Friday morning just after 8am local time.
Leading positions after SS1: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Petter Solberg Ford 53.7s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 0.4s 3. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 0.6s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 0.8s 5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1.0s 6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1.0s 7. Chris Atkinson Monster Ford + 1.5s 8. Armindo Araujo Portugal Mini + 1.7s 9. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 1.9s 10. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar Citroen + 1.9s