It doesn't have to be "Stock OR Root". It can be stock and rooted. That's how I run.
My advice, immediately unlock the bootloader. This prepares your phone should you ever want to root it. Unlocking completely wipes your phone, so you don't want to have it all setup nicely and 2 months later decide to root and have to start setting things up again.
Once you've unlocked, well you might as well root....its like 60 seconds extra and you're practically wasting time if you don't root. Also, you can always UNroot, re-LOCK and go back to factory stock should you ever need to.
Once you are rooted there are a number of features you can take advantage of without installing a custom ROM or kernel.
So, my suggestion is to immediately unlock and then root. Run stock rooted for a little while to see what you like / don't like.... and if its not perfect then see if there's a custom ROM that will give you exactly what you want.